Saturday, June 08, 2013

Hymn to Brigit & Brigit Candle Cross-Stitch

The original version of this hymn is a prayer to God, not Brigit, collected by Alexander Carmichael in the Carmina Gadelica. I came across it in Esther de Waal's book on Celtic Christianity, Every Earthly Blessing, and was much moved by the text. In my efforts to memorize my modified version to use as a prayer on rising each morning, a tune began to attach itself to the phrases. I offer it to you now with a collection of images, mostly from old postcards and archival photos, but also including:

  • images from the website of the Brigidine sisters of Australia
  • hearth drawings by E. Estyn Evans
  • the Solas Bhride hearth (photo by Erynn Laurie)
  • Judy Chicago's Saint Bridget plate from The Dinner Party
  • my own very humble clay crèche of Brigit, her cow, and the triple flame
  • a Brigit candle cross-stitch design by Donna Amaral of the Daughters of the Flame
  • a painting of a Renaissance woman blacksmith by Francesca Miller
  • a photo of friends drumming around the fire in Haiti
  • Mayra Gomez carrying Brigit's flame (from the AFRI website)
  • a woman blacksmith in Sulawesi

I include Donna Amaral's cross-stitch pattern here. Please credit her wherever you may use it. Donna was an early and dedicated member of the Daughters of the Flame whose generosity and joy were a great inspiration and support to all who knew her. Her death was a great loss to us all.

I will kindle my fire (Brigit Song)

I will kindle my fire this morning
in the presence of Brigit and her holy women.
Brigit kindle in my heart within
a flame of love to my neighbour
to my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all
to the brave, to the knave, to the thrall.
Without malice, without jealousy
without envy, without fear
without terror of anyone under the sun.

For the original words, collected by Alexander Carmichael, see the Comment section below.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Brigit Quilts

The previous post shows a parish kneeler with a St Brigit design on it. Discovering this craft has led me to search online for quilts made in honour of Brigit. Here is what I found.

From the site of the International Quilt Festival in London, Ontario, this vast and beautiful depiction of Brigit and her world from an unnamed church in Wexford, Ireland. Click on the  photo below for a larger image--it's too complex to take in at this size.

Next, a phoenix-inspired Goddess/Saint Brigit from American fibre artist Catherine Marie, who attempts "to interweave Goddesses into (her) own birthright of Catholicism (a challenge!)."

She says, "St. Brigid and Brigid the Goddess reside together in this large quilt. I depicted her with phoenix feathers, because her eternal fire, though first doused with the turbulent meeting of paganism and Christianity, has been resurrected, presently being tended by the Brigidine sisters of Kildare.

"This quilt was given to a friend who was battling cancer with a courageous and focused resolve.  I was hoping, in my own sense of helplessness, that the quilt could warm her as it’s image reminded all of us that there is a new beginning after the flames.

"I then thought that it could be a good image for a prayer wallhanging.  The work on that wall hanging is covered in an earlier post:  Bridging Paganism and Christianity with Brigit."

Here is the wall hanging:

C. Neely created a small, found-art quilt made from lacy fabric, a holy card and medal, ribbon and buttons--an inspiration for those of us who would like to make our own fabric celebrations of Brigit.

And for the traditional quilter, this lovely "Cross of Saint Brigit" pattern can be found in Colorful Quilts: 12 easy and fun designs by Sharyn Squier Craig, Christiane Meunier, and Others.

Wonderfully, Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur hosts a blog dedicated to saintly quilt patterns, and offers a free download of the St. Brigit block below:

Tina Cockburn made a lovely Saint Brigit's quilt:

Angie Quinby has a number of Imbolc quilt blocks at this link.

... There were more yet! Just dig around and you will find them.

Oh! How could I forget this one, by Barrie Maguire?

Parish Kneelers--Works of Art for Prayer

Perhaps everyone else in the world has always known of them, but I discovered the world of parish kneelers only recently, at St James Anglican Church in Vancouver, BC. Their small side chapel has about forty burnished oak chairs, each with a small stool tucked in underneath them. They aren't footstools, they are kneelers--pulled out when needed and pushed out of sight when not.

Each one has a beautiful hand-stitched emblem over the padded top. Inspired by these, I looked on the internet to see if I could find any stitched in honour of St Brigit. I found this one (actually two of the same pattern):

Both may be seen in person at All Saints Church, Monk Sherborne, Hampshire, in the south of England.

The site which displays this and many other Welsh and English kneelers--Parish Kneelers--is a clear labour of love. There you can learn how to make your own, where to find others, and so on. You can even upload photos of your own kneelers, should you make them.