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    Although Saint Patrick is known worldwide, Ireland does
    have a female patron Saint: Saint Brigid. Known as Bridey,
    Mary of Gaels and even as Biddy, Saint Brigid was born
    near Dundalk to a pagan Gaelic chieftain named Dubtach
    (Duffy) and to a Christian slave mother named Brocessa,
    who was sold soon after Brigid's birth. She was baptized
    by Saint Patrick with whom she was to become friends.

    As a child the young Brigid enjoyed a position of some
    comfort and privilege, the family being in receipt of
    financial support because of their position of authority.
    Upon reaching adulthood however, she assumed a role of
    servitude and was charged with caring for her father and

    She never forgot her mother however and, despite being
    forbidden to do so, she left the family home, located
    her mother, negotiated her release from slavery and
    returned home to her fathers house. To her dismay, her
    father had arranged her marriage to a poet, who were
    among the most prestigious men of the time. Brigid had
    already vowed to remain celibate and to do God's work
    so once more, she left her home, this time forever.

    Together with seven other dedicated women she formed the
    first ever female monastic community in Ireland in the
    year 468. They helped the poor of the time and were
    attributed with many miracles. Despite having limited
    resources they never seemed to be without food or
    supplies for their good works. She founded a school
    of Art and a Monastery at Cill Dara, about which the
    modern town of Kildare now stands.

    The most famous miracle associated with Brigid tells of
    her confrontation with an Irish chieftain. She asked him
    for a quantity of land so that she could build a monastic
    community. The chieftain replied that she could have
    whatever amount of land her cloak could cover. Brigid
    took the cloak from her shoulders and cast it on the
    ground where it covered over 12 acres of the chieftains
    lands. He gave it willingly.

    The date of her death is now that of her feastday,
    February 1st. which is still celebrated with the traditional
    creation of the Saint Brigid Cross, made from reeds. She
    is buried next to Saint Patrick in Downpatrick.

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