Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Feast of St Brigid / Lá Fhéile Bríde

St Brigid in East Window
Saggart Church
The above photo is not a very good one but will have to do until a better one can be found/supplied.  The feast-day of St Brigid prompts us to take a close look at this window that we know so well but never really dwell on.   Seeing it up close, however indistinctly (click to enlarge), we notice that the name is in Latin (S. Brigida). We also notice that she is bearing a branch of  oak leaves, symbolizing the Church of the Oak Tree (Cill Dara).  (Next year we will feature the fine window of St Brigid in Newcastle church.)

There is still a community of sisters in Kildare today, the convent of the Brigidine Sisters called Solas Bhríde.  Read about the community here and about how they are celebrating their founder's feast-day here. The life of the Brigidine convent and school in Mountrath which closed in 2009 is recalled in these photos.

Contrasting with the 19th century window in our parish church is the window in St Mary's, Ballinrobe, created by Harry Clarke in the following century, an account of which can be found here (not easy to read in parts, e.g. on the subject of the oak leaves). 

But what is surely one of the most spectacular (as we have to call it) visual portraits of St Brigid is to be seen in northern Italy, in the early 16th century chapel located in the grounds of the Villa Suardi in Bergamo. In 1524 the Renaissance artist Lorenzo Lotto depicted scenes from the life of St Brigid (as well as St Barbara) in frescoes that should -- in addition to our own homely portrait in Saggart, of course, -- really concentrate our minds on her feast-day. See here for a description of the wonderful frescoes, making sure to to click on the links at the bottom of the page for some really close-up views. (For a general account of the Villa Suardi in a fairly obvious English translation from the original Italian, see here.  Details of the St Brigid fresco are given in the 6th and 5th paragraphs from the end.)

Finally, back to our own excellent art/craft work in Saggart: 

St Brigid's Cross (work of Mervyn Ennis)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Belated New Year Wishes

Cover of an Old Writing Pad
click on photo to enlarge

     May God 

     look after us all in 2017   

     And may we 

     look after each other