St. Brigid is the female equivalent of St. Patrick in Ireland, but there are no parades in her honor, and apart from the St. Brigid's Cross, her name is hardly known.
That really should change.
St. Brigid was a woman who was well ahead of her time. Born around 453, she was the daughter of a slave and a chieftain. Her feast day is celebrated on February 1.
She became one of the most-powerful women in Ireland. After refusing an arranged marriage, she went on to found many convents whose schools provided an education for thousands of young women who otherwise would have had none.
She was the lone female figure whose voice was heard in a male-dominated Church, but the stories of her good deeds and extraordinary acts ensured she was canonized well before most of her contemporaries.
She stands today as an example of an Irish woman who followed her heart and took on the powers-that-be in a male-dominated world. She was certainly a figure as extraordinary as Patrick himself.
Originally published 2011.