Co-Patroness of Europe. The next audience in Benedict’s series on women saints of the medieval time period:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our catechesis today is on Saint Bridget of Sweden. Born in thirteen hundred and three, she grew up steeped in the faith. She and her husband had eight children, and dedicated themselves with great fervour to the spiritual life and their children’s Christian formation. Bridget was the driving force behind her and her husband’s “conjugal sanctity”, and became a model for many women through the ages of how to be the spiritual centre of the family. Following her husband’s death, Bridget renounced further marriage in order to deepen her union with the Lord, through prayer, penance and works of charity. She gave away her possessions and lived in a monastery. In her prayer, she experienced many intense mystical experiences. In thirteen forty-nine, she made a pilgrimage to Rome, to obtain Papal approval for a religious order of both men and women which she intended to found, and, while in Rome, she lived a life of intense apostolic prayer and activity. Bridget died in thirteen seventy-three, and was canonized eighteen years later. She is a significant reminder of a united Western Christendom, a powerful example of feminine sanctity, and was proclaimed co-Patroness of Europe by the Venerable John Paul the Second, during the Great Jubilee. May her intercession help unite all Christians, and draw the people of Europe to an ever greater appreciation of their unique and invaluable Christian heritage.