Saturday, November 27, 2021

A Different Kind of Catholic Church: Saint Brigid of Kildare Catholic Faith Community of Calgary

There is a Catholic Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that looks very inviting to me. Led by two Roman Catholic Womanpriests, Saint Brigid of Kildare Catholic Faith Community of Calgary looks to the past and present as well as to the possibilities for the Church and society in the future. Ecumenical in nature, inclusive of all genders, it sounds like a wonderful place to explore Christian spirituality guided by the inspiration of Saint Brigit.

"Our community members are warm, welcoming people with a passion for the healing and renewal of the church and society."

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Goddess Brigid - Professor Ronald Hutton Zoom Lecture


So, there is a lecture coming up online by Professor Ronald Hutton, which looks in part at why the saint and the goddess seem so dissimilar. It is hosted by The Viktor Wynd Museum & The Last Tuesday Society, and will happen on the 23rd of February, so lots of lead time.

From the website:

This talk is designed to look at the evidence for both goddess and saint, and the possible relationships between them.

About this event:

a recording of this lecture will be available to ticket holders for two weeks after the event

Brigid (or Bridget, or Bride) is the most popular Irish goddess in the modern world. This is partly because of her bountiful and gentle nature, as a patroness of handicrafts (especially smithwork), poetry and healing, and partly because she is also revered as a major Christian saint, the patroness of Ireland, with a rich heritage of stories attached to her. She thus acts a a connecting point between the religions. The general supposition is that the goddess had an equal importance in pre-Christian times, and evolved into the saint. If that is so, however, why are the pagan and Christian figures so different, and why are there so few actual references to the goddess in medieval texts? This talk is designed to look at the evidence for both goddess and saint, and the possible relationships between them.


Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.

Date and time:

Wed, February 23, 2022

7:30 PM - 9:00 PM GMT (11:30 AM – 1:00 PM PST)


£5.82 – £11.04

Tickets may be purchased here.

Image: Uncredited, from the website.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Brigit and the Buddha, Sharing an Altar

 A month or two ago, I felt the need to combine my two main altars, my Brigit altar and my Buddha altar.

It feels right this way, for now at least Brigit has my heart and the Buddha has my mind. When I sit with Brigit now I am reminded to welcome everything. Considering that "Everything" has recently included the death of my beloved younger brother, welcoming it is both a challenge and a gift. Sitting here, I read my poetry to Brigit and I remind myself of the Buddha's teachings and how they have helped me to shape a practice that is based on growth through self reflection and compassion.

I can mourn here, in stillness and the security of Brigit's protection and my own clarity and strength. I can yield to my sorrow and in yielding to it free it and come tear by tear word by word moment by moment closer and closer to peace.

I practice yoga in this tiny room, too. I have to be careful not to kick the altar when we do a leg raise in downward facing dog. The practice of asanas and of pranayama breathing help me to feel my body more completely than I do in my normal, vaguely unaware state. This practice brings me to a place where I can sit at the altar and connect, meditate, contemplate, or pour out my feelings in a far more grounded state.

When I moved here from my bachelor apartment of thirty years, I decided not to use the little bedroom for my bed, but to create a sanctuary for yoga, meditation, and prayer. This has made the room a magical place. If I am out there in the living room where my bed is or in the nook where the table is (with computer, eg work space, on it), or generally wandering around with a feeling of stress, if I walk into this room where all that loving work is done, I feel peace. Maybe just for a second and maybe only a particle of it, but it’s here. All those moments, they are here, waiting to greet me when I have the need. The love I have for Brigit, the gratitude I have for her and for the Buddha, the moments of strength in my body or release of pain or tension, the times when I’ve been able to open my mind to a different way of thinking or my heart to a different way of being. They’re all here.

I am infinitely lucky to have this room, to have the teachings of these two culturally disparate wisdom paths, to have the support of communities, to have a disability pension and a place in a wonderfully conceived subsidised housing development. I am lucky to have had my brother for the 50 some years that I did. I am lucky in so many ways and I am so grateful.

When I visited Kildare in 1997, I took my various life strands to her well and talked with her about them. I wondered if I should give up some of the things that I loved and devoted time to so I could focus more generously on some of the others. What I realised there, through her guidance, I am sure, was that even though they were seemingly unrelated they all supported each other in me and that I didn’t need to give any of them up. That in drawing on all of them I understood each of them a little better. Similarly, I used to worry about being a Pagan and a Buddhist at the same time. I wondered if I was being insincere or inauthentic or somehow letting down the team. But they served such different purposes in my life, although they blend together beautifully. My Buddhism is stronger and broader because of Brigit, and my service to and connection with Brigit is stronger and broader because of the Buddha. I guess that’s why combining my two altars feels so right for me. There is no contradiction here. And I am so so lucky to have found them both.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me on these interweaving paths. Blessings on us all.

Image: Photo of my quiet place.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Monday, November 08, 2021

At Last! Saint Brigit's Got Her Own Official Holiday in Ireland


A time to celebrate, indeed. It has been decided to give Saint Brigit her own official (bank) holiday in Ireland. She joins Saint Patrick and Saint Stephen in being so honoured.

"Ireland's new Bank Holiday set to fall on St Brigid's Day" by Dave Hanratty

Briefly, the bank holiday will begin this coming February, and will be celebrated on the Monday closest to 1 February.

Image: Photo by Dmitry Shamis on Unsplash