Mothers' Union members mark St. Brigid's Day


A large number of Mothers’ Union members from across Clogher Diocese attended the MU service of Holy Communion on Thursday morning, celebrating St. Brigid’s Day in St. Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen.

It was part of an all-Ireland programme to hold a monthly service in each diocese.

Bishop Ian Ellis presided and gave an address based on St.Brigid.

He said; “These early months of the new year are generally quiet in comparison with the busy celebrations of Christmas. In the calendar of the Church of Ireland, the first of February is St Brigid’s day when we recall the life of Brigid, the fifth century Abbess of Kildare. She is said to have been baptised by St Patrick and stories of her portray a woman of great compassion who shone the light of the Christ at a dark time in this land.

'She is remembered especially well for her distinctive cross with four arms usually woven from rushes. By her life of prayer and service she is reputed to have strongly influenced the growth of the Church throughout Ireland.

“The lack of writings by Brigid or any of her contemporaries mean that much of what is written is from a much later period and it is difficult to disentangle truth from legend. What we can be sure of is that she was a remarkable person and who by God’s grace gave unique spiritual leadership in her own time. It is interesting that in an age of a mostly male-dominated church, that an honoured place was given to Brigid of Kildare. It is a testimony to her leadership qualities. It is also fascinating to note that today (1 February) it so happens in the Church of Ireland, the Bishop of Meath and Kildare is our only woman bishop, the Most Revd Pat Storey.

“We can take inspiration from the life of Brigid and other women of faith; examples of practical witness for Christ and we can pray that we too might be known as people of prayer and compassion who bear the cross of Christ to our community. Today is also a very appropriate day then to bring together our family of the Mothers’ Union to celebrate the leadership of women, in our parishes, diocese and across Ireland.

“We could ask; what was it that inspired such witness, devotion to prayer and service in the lives of the early Christian leaders in these islands? It was simply the words and life of Jesus as they heard them read and preached. Those early saints had a deep reverence for scripture, they read it, sang it, and copied it out in beautifully illustrated manuscripts. The words of our Lord from the Gospels were especially treasured.

“In the Gospel reading for St Brigid’s day, John 10:10, we find a source of inspiration 'I have come that they may have life.’ In that imagery of the Good Shepherd caring for the sheep and helping the lost find their way into the shepherd’s fold, we see Jesus bring life in all its fullness. And as those early saints believed, so do we, that just as the Good Shepherd cares for his sheep, we are called to serve and help others find their way to the shepherd’s fold.

“On this special day of remembrance, we find inspiration in the example of those saints of old like Brigid, pointing people to Christ, shining the light of the Gospel in dark places, enabling others to find life in all its fullness. We do this best by our prayers, our compassion, loving words and generous actions.

“The Collect in the Book of Common Prayer for St Brigid’s day gives us the opportunity to thank God for her life and witness and to pray for a wider acknowledgement of the role of women in the ministry of the church.”

By the leadership of your blessed servant Brigid
you strengthened the Church in this land:
as we give you thanks for her life of devoted service,
inspire us with new life and light,
and give us perseverance to serve you all our days,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The music was led by Mr. Glenn Moore, organist and the Cathedral Choir. Everyone was invited for tea afterwards.