Miracles of Jesus

The Crucifix of St.Bridget of Sweden

We are indebted to two of the St.Bridget’s confessors, Peter of Vadstena and Peter of Alvastra, for the biography of the Saint that was written in the year of her death, 1373. From this biography, we learn that Bridget was born in 1303 to a mother known for her deep piety and to Birger Persson, a provincial judge who was one of the wealthiest landholders of the country. At the age of 14 (or 15), Bridget consented to her parents’ wishes and was married to Prince Ulf Gudmarsson, who was then 18. The happy marriage was blessed with eight children, among them being St. Catherine of Sweden.

Apparently Bridget’s saintly and happy married life was noticed by members of the Swedish court, since she was summoned there around the year 1335 to serve as companion to the newly married Queen Blanche of Namur, wife of Magnus Eriksson, King of Sweden. It was hoped that the Saint’s spiritual practices and kindly disposition would affect the queen, but Bridget eventually realized that she could do nothing to diminish the queen’s extravagances or improve her “flighty nature.” After an almost six-year effort, Bridget left the court with the love and respect of the royal couple.

When she was almost 40 years of age, Bridget joined her husband in a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James the Apostle in Santiago de Compostella, Spain. On the return journey, her husband was stricken with an illness, from which he died three years later. Before dying, he tenderly placed on his wife’s finger a gold ring which he said would serve to remind her of their mutual and undying love. Now widowed, Bridget divided her husband’s estate among her children and devoted herself entirely to prayer, penance and religious undertakings.The visions which the Saint had started to experience during her youth now became more frequent. During the year 1346, St. Bridget founded a monastery at Vadstena for an order of nuns known as the Brigittines, or the Order of St. Saviour. The monastery was richly endowed by King Magnus and was governed by the Saint’s daughter, St. Catherine of Sweden. To seek confirmation of the order, St. Bridget journeyed to Rome in 1349 in the company of her saintly daughter. With the exception of a few pilgrimages, notably one to the Holy Land, St. Bridget remained in Rome for the next 24 years, until her death in 1373.

During her stay in Rome, the Saint might have frequently recalled a vivid dream or vision she had experienced during her childhood in which she saw Our Lord hanging upon His Cross. The Crucified’s voice seemed to say, “Look upon Me, My daughter.” The child asked, “Who has treated You in this manner?” The vision replied, “They who despise Me, and are insensible to My love for them.”

This dream was probably remembered numerous times during her many visits to the basilica of St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls. In this basilica is still found the life-size crucifix, sculpted by Pierre Cavallini, to which she was particularly devoted and which is said to have spoken with her. At the base of this crucifix is a Latin inscription that translates, “Bridget not only receives the Words of God hanging suspended in the air, but takes the Word of God into her heart. Jubilee year of 1350.”

The year 1350 is not the year in which the inscription was placed beneath the crucifix but the year in which the Saint received the communication from the crucifix. Many claim that this communication consisted of the 15 St. Bridget prayers that are found in many prayer books. Pope Urban V approved the Saint’s order in August 1370 when he confirmed the Rule of her congregation.

Three years later, after a most edifying and holy life, St. Bridget died in Rome on July 23, 1373. Since Bridget had often visited the Poor Clares and had occasionally found it necessary to beg alms on the entrance steps, she was buried in their church, San Lorenzo in Panisperna, which is located on the summit of the Viminal Hill. A year later, her daughter, St. Catherine of Sweden, conveyed the remains to the monastery Bridget had founded at Vadstena, Sweden. Left at the convent of the Poor Clares was an arm of the Saint that the nuns wanted for a relic, together with the Saint’s coat and a prayer book. A mere 18 years after her death, St. Bridget was canonized on October 7, 1391, by Boniface IX. Alban Butler once wrote, “Nothing is more famous in the life of St. Bridget than the many revelations with which she was favored by God.” By order of the Council of Basle, the learned John Torquemada, afterward cardinal, examined these revelations and approved them as being profitable for the instruction of the faithful. This approbation was admitted by the council as being competent and sufficient.

Pope Benedict XIV referred to the Saint’s revelations when he wrote, “Even though many of these revelations have been approved, we cannot and we ought not to give them the assent of divine faith, but only that of human faith, according to the dictates of prudence whenever these dictates enable us to decide that they are probable and worthy of pious credence.” The revelations were printed and distributed as early as 1492. They were said to have been extremely popular during the Middle Ages, and they are still regarded as excellent material for spiritual consideration and meditation. In addition to St. Bridget founding a religious order and receiving the 15 prayers from Our Lord, the Saint’s name is also affixed to a rosary known as the Brigittine beads, which consist of 7 Our Fathers in honor of the Sorrows and Joys of the Blessed Virgin and 63 Hail Marys to commemorate the number of years Our Lady is thought to have lived on earth.

~Source:”Miraculous Images of Jesus”

Hell, Visions of the Saints

St.Bridget witnessed a soul being condemned by the Holy Trinity

The bride saw God looking angry. He was saying: “I am without beginning and without end. There is no change in me either of year or day. Rather, all the time in the world is like a single hour or moment to me. Everyone who sees me sees and understands everything that is in me in an instant, so to speak. However, my bride, since you are in a material body, you cannot perceive and comprehend like a spirit. Therefore, for your sake, I will explain to you what has happened. I was, as it were, seated in judgment, for all judgment has been given to me, and a certain person came to be judged before the tribunal. The voice of the Father resounded and said to him: ‘Woe unto you that ever you were born.’

It was not as though God had repented of having created him, but just like anyone would be sorry for another person and feel compassion for him. The voice of the Son came in answer: ‘I poured out my blood for you and accepted a harsh punishment for you, but you have alienated yourself entirely from it and will have nothing to do with it.’ The voice of the Spirit said: ‘I searched all the corners of his heart to see if I might perhaps find some tenderness and charity in his heart, but he is as cold as ice, as hard as stone. He is none of my concern.’

These three voices have not been heard as if there were three gods, but they were made audible for your sake, my bride, because otherwise you would not be able to understand this mystery. The three voices of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit were then immediately transformed into a single voice that thundered and said: ‘By no means do you deserve the kingdom of heaven!’ The Mother of mercy remained silent and did not open up her mercy, for the defendant was unworthy of it. All the saints cried out in one voice saying: ‘It is divine justice for him to be perpetually exiled from your kingdom and from your joy.’ All those in purgatory said: ‘We have no punishment harsh enough to punish your sins. You must endure greater torments and you will therefore be secluded from us.’ Then even the defendant himself cried out in a horrendous voice, saying: ‘Alas, alas for the seeds that came together in my mother’s womb and from which I was formed!’ He cried out a second time and said:

Accursed be the hour in which my soul was joined to my body and accursed be he who gave me a body and soul!’ He cried out a third time: ‘Accursed be the hour in which I came forth alive from the belly of my mother!’ Then came three horrible voices from hell saying to him: ‘Come to us, accursed soul, like liquid copper draining down to perpetual death and life interminable!’ They cried out a second time: ‘Come, accursed soul, empty for our malice! For there will be none of us who will not fill you with his own pain and malice.’ They cried out a third time: ‘Come, accursed soul, heavy like a stone that sinks and sinks and never reaches the bottom where it can rest!

You will descend deeper into the deep than we, and you will not be brought to a standstill until you have reached the lowest part of the abyss.

(St. Bridget of Sweden, ‘The Revelations)