We have, however, been enjoying using Brigid’s Cloak for our book study since Saturday. We’ve read it several times already, chatting about the pictures and plots. And, since the story is set in Ireland, we found Ireland on the kids’ globe. We also used the book as inspiration for our latest liturgical table, since the backdrop of our Lady of Altagracia one was beginning to fall of the wall.
Luke noticed that there were stars on that backdrop, just as there are on St. Brigid’s cloak at the end of the Brigid’s Cloak story. So, we decided to repurpose the cloth for our newest display. He also said that we needed another blue cloth for the “before” cloak, so we used a plain blue scarf for that. Now, I had something simple and delicate in mind for the table, but the kids had other ideas. In the spirit of “following the child”, I went with theirs.
To begin, Luke went to our scarf drawer and found a green-brown one to use as the base of the new display, Then, while Luke wrapped one of the kid’s dollies in the blue scarf to represent baby Brigid, Nina got a basket to put the baby in. She happily placed this on the table, before Luke got a “girl doll” to wrap in the star-scarf to be the older Brigid.
The kids then said they needed lambs and sheep, since Brigid was a shepherdess in the story. So, I dug out their stuffed ones at their suggestion. They put these in front of “Big Brigid”, leaning the doll in a praying position over the sheep.
At this point, I thought the table was getting crowded, but Luke felt that the Brigids needed a hut/manger, just like in Brigid's Cloak, so he brought out the fort house from their doll house and placed it between the two Brigid’s. He and Nina also felt “Baby Brigid” needed a toy, so they put gave her a small stuffed dog.
I, then, tucked our library copy of Brigid’s Cloak behind the scene on the table and printed out an image of St. Brigid to hang above it, as well as a poem that I found about the saint. (Click on the image to the right and you should get a full-size version you can print out.) We’ve read the poem several times and talked about how St. Brigid was so generous and how we might love others in similar ways.
Thus, our St. Brigid Feast table is complete – and rather interactive, too. I keep finding the kids drawn to play with it! Learning about the saints at their level on their terms. It is so special to be a part of...
Later today, I hope to have the kids carry their St. Brigid dolls around the house as we pray the House Blessing I stumbled upon at The Daily Weaving. Also, after reading more about the saint at Saint Brigid Catholic Church’s website, I am hoping to honor the idea that “St. Brigid loved to wander the woods befriending the animals” by bundling the kids for a woodsy walk, where we might distribute some bird seed. And, since, “she was renowned for her generosity, giving much of her father's wealth away to the poor”, I am going to encourage both children to pick something to donate or freecycle today. We might also color or make some sort of replication of a St. Brigid’s cross if time and inspiration allow. We shall see how the rest of the day unfolds...
Whatever ideas we do not get to today, we may in the week (or years!) to come. For there are many ideas buzzing in my head, inspired by the varied things that St. Brigid is the patron saint of: babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, cattle, chicken, farmers, children whose parents are not married, dairymaids, dairy workers, fugitives, infants, Ireland, Leinster, Ireland, mariners, midwives, milk maids, poultry raisers, printing presses, sailors, scholars, travelers, watermen, creativity, scholars and poets. And, Irish recipes abound! So, of course, we will be including some Irish-inspired dishes in our weekly menu, both in honor of St. Brigid and of our own heritage, saying either an Irish blessing or a prayer to St. Brigid (below) at some of our meals. With all this in mind, it is sure to be a full, fun and blessed week.
Prayer to St. Brigid
Brigid, You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.
If you are doing something special for St. Brigid's day, want to share any Irish recipes, have ideas for our Brigid’s Cloak book study or simply want to share something, I would love it if you’d leave me a comment. Thank you, and have a blessed St. Brigid's Feast Day!