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BRIEF


784


BRIGID


by natural selection or other non-intelligent agents in which purpose is not included, and to the ordinarj' unsophisticated mind they bring home, as wliat may be deemed more philosophical arguments cannot, the truth that here we have direct evidence of a Su- preme Artificer.

John Gerard.

Brief. See Bulls .\xd Briefs.

Brieuc (BRiocrs, Brioc, or Bru), S.unt, a Celtic saint of Brittany who received his education in Ireland and then studied under St. Germanus, ^aid to be the famous St. Germanus of AiLxerre. iluch of what we read concerning his early years must be received vaxh caution; indeed, Ussher as- serts that he was of Irish birth, but it is tolerably certain that he returned to France early in 431, bring- ing with him St. Iltud. Even before his ordination to the priesthood, St. Brieuc worked several miracles, duly chronicled in his "Acts" (edited by F. Godefrid Hei-schenu), and after a short period spent with his parents, he entered on his missionarj' career. In 480, he settled in Armorica, and founded a monastery at Landebaeron. Thence he proceeded to Upper Brit- tany where he established an oratorj' at a place ever since known as St. Brieuc-des-Vau.x, between St. Malo and Land Triguier, and of which he was named first bishop. Numerous miracles are cited in the "Acts", especially his cure of Count Riguel, who gave the saint his own palace of Champ-du-Rouvre, as also the whole manorial estates. Authorities differ as to date of St. Brieuc's death, but it was probably in 502, or in the early years of the si.xth centurj-. He died in his own monastery at St. Brieuc-des-Vau.x, and was interred in his cathedral church, dedicated to St. Stephen. Baring-Gould says that St. Brieuc is represented as "treading on a dragon", or else "with a column of fire" as seen at his ordination. His relics were translated to the Church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus of Angers, in 865, and again, in a more- solemn manner, on 31 July, 1166. However, in 1210, a portion of the relics was restored to St. Brieuc Cathedral, where the saint's ring is also preserved. The festival of St. Brieuc is celebrated on 1st May, but, since 1804, the feast is transferred to the second Sunday after Easter. Churches in England, Ireland, and Scotland are dedicated to this early Celtic samt.

Acta SS. (1 May), I; Butler, Lives of the Saintajlilai;); LoBiNEAr, Vies des Saints de Brelagne Tresvat^d ed. (lS3b). Baring-Gould, Lives of the Samls (1 May). \ ; Baillet I !«  des Saints- Le Bard, Hisloire de Bretagne; Cressy, Chuvch. History of Brittany; Le Grand, De V^tii Sanctorum BrUannur irmoricir; O'H.oiLON, Lives of the Irish Saints d May), \ , Leland. lH,ierary. Ill; Godescard. Lcs Tws des Peres et des Martins (1 May); Tractarian Lives of the English 6atn(s, lA, Lanigax, Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, I; P.U.I.ISER. Brit- tany and its Byways (1869). „- „ „ t7 „

W. H. GRATT.A.N Flood. Brigid, S.UXT. of Ireland (incorrectly known as Bridget), b. in 451 or 452 of princely ancestors at Fau^hart. near Dundalk. County Louth; d. 1 Feb- ruarj-, 525, at Kildare. Refusing many good offers of marriage, she became a nun and received the veil from St. Jtacaille. With seven other virgins she settled for a time at the foot of Croghan Hill, but removed thence to Druin Criadh, in the plains of Magh Life, where under a large oak tree she erected her subsequently famous Convent of Citl-Dara that is, "the church of the oak" (now Kildare), in the present county of tliat name. It is exceedingly difficult to reconcile the statements of St. Brigid's biographers, but the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Lives of the saint are at one in assigning her a slave mother in the coiu-t of her father Dubhthach, an Irish chieftain of Leinster. Probably the most ancient life of St. Brigid is that by St. Bioccan Cloen, who is said to have died 17 September, 650. It is metrical, as may be seen from the following specimen: — Ni bu Sanct Brigit suanach Ni bu huarach im sheire D6,


Sech ni chiuir ni cossena Ind noeb dibad bethath che.

Saint Brigid was not given to sleep.

Nor was she intermittent about God's love;

Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for

The wealth of this world below, the holy one.

Cogitosus, a monk of Kldare in the eighth century, expoimded the metrical life of St. Brigid, and versi- fied it in good Latin. This is what is known as the "Second Life", and is an excellent example of Irish scholarsliip in tlie mid-eighth centurj'. Perhaps the most interesting feature of Cogitosus's work is the description of the Cathedral of Kildare in his day: "Solo spatioso et in altum minaci proceritate porruta ac decorata pictis tabulis, tria intrinsecus habens oratoria ampla, et divisa parietibus tabu- latis". The rood-screen wa-s formed of wooden boards, lavishly decorated, and with beautifully embroidered curtains. Probably the famous Round Tower of Kildare dates from the sixth centurj-. Although St. Brigid was "veiled", or received, by St. Macaille, at Croghan, yet, it is tolerably certain


that she was professed by St. Ue\ of Ardagh, who also conferred on her abbatial powers. From Ardagh St Macaille and St. Brigid followed St. ilel into the countr^^ of Teffia in Meath, including portions of W'estmeath and Longford. This occurred about the year 468. St. Brigid's small oratorj' at Cill- Dara became the centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city. She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and appointed St. Conleth as spiritual pastor of them. It has been frequently stated that she gave canonical jurisdiction to St. Conleth, Bishop of Kildare, but, as Archbishop Healy points out, she simplv "selected the person to whom the Church gave this jurisdiction", and her biogr.a- pher tells us distinctly that she chose St.^ Conleth "to govern the church along with herself". Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superioress general of the con\ents in Ireland. ^ . j »

Not alone was St. Brigid a patroness of students but she also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which St. Conleth pre- sided From the Kildare scriptorium came the wondrous book of the Gospels, which elicited un- bounded praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation. -Ac- cording to this twelfth-century Welsh ecclesiastic, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the "Book of Kildare", ever>' page of which was goro-eously illuminated, and he concludes a most