Several years ago we began to celebrate the feast day of this Patron Saint of Ireland, and, each year, we have done so a little differently.
This year, we celebrated over a simple oatmeal-and-topping breakfast.
We decorated the table with an image of St. Brigid and two candles, as well as a globe (so we could find Ireland on it.)
Then we began breakfast with three prayers:
- St Brigid, Mary of Ireland, which I found randomly online at By Hand, With Heart.
- St. Brigid Psalm from the Brigidine Sisters site.
- St. Brigid's Blessing, also from the Brigidine Sisters' site
Reflecting on the words of the prayers, we talked about how we might be strong, valiant, firm, true and faithful today; how we might bless others with our hears, hands and feet; and how we might bring light, hope and peace to the world today.
We also talked about how, through the years, there has been conflict in Ireland with Christians fighting Christians. The kids thought that was silly: all Christians should be at peace and love one another and others. I agree. Thus, we found Ireland on the globe and Nina led us in a prayer for peace among all people in Ireland.
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Since a friend still had the copy St. Brigid's Cloak that I had planned to read, I found two wonderful FREE stories about St. Brigid online to read.
A Fantastic Free Story: St Bridget and the King's Wolf
The children said they wanted to hear St. Bridget and the King's Wolf first. What a fantastic read aloud it was! I had so much doing a dramatic reading of it and the children loved the story. Likewise, I appreciate the opportunities that the story offered for:
- participation ("Find your right ear. Touch it. that is where the wolf was marked." "Can you pant like a wolf?" Let's see who can be perfectly still like the wolf for a full ten seconds.")
- making predictions ("What do you think will happen to the wolf?" "How will Bridget help the man?" Etc.)
- and chatting about virtues and vices (What virtues and vices did the hunter, the king and Bridget show?)
Indeed, the story was chock full of entertainment as well as opportunities to move, to sprinkle in literary/ELA skills (suspense, prediction, etc.) and to chat about virtues.
The kids did find part of the ending of the story a bit "wrong" at first, though. In it, Bridget calls the huntsman "Sirra Stupid" and "gives him a stern lecture...advising him not to be so hasty and so wasty next time." A bit later, she ;eaves "the silly man to think over what she has said (about not being able to afford to lose our friendly beasts), and to feel much ashamed".
"Stupid" is a word that we don't use much in our home, so hearing the character of Saint Bridget use the term definitely caused the kids' eyebrows to raise. Then, to hear that she purposefully left a man to feel ashamed... The kids were surprised!
We chatted about it, though, and decided that sometimes people have to be left to think about their bad choices, so they can, eventually, seek forgiveness and make amends. The conversation ended up moving into one about Reconciliation. (I just love when things naturally flow towards talk of the Sacraments!)
Another Fabulous Story about St. Brigid
We then read The Blessed Virgin Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, a free pdf offered by St. Michael's Orthodox School. This story was a more historical account of St. Brigid's life (and some of the legends that have arisen about the saint). While not as interesting as our first read aloud from a dramatic storytelling sense, this story was still illuminating, providing a fuller picture of who St. Brigid was, what miracles are said to have happened in her life and how she impacted those around her through her charity, practical evangelization and love. We found ourselves pausing the story often to chat about the virtues St. Brigid embodied and the ways she models how to live for us.
Simple Notebooking Pages
Finally, after eating, at the tale end of storytime, we began making a page for our Faith and Character Notebooks, which had been dismantled at one point when we needed binders for something else and did not have any on hand, but are now being put back together.
Our pages were simple and included:
- some simple sentences the kids wrote about St. Brigid.
- a small prayer book with 3x5 print outs of the prayers we prayed at the beginning of our meal.
This simple celebration provided a wonderful start to a day filled by Mass, sledding and more.
We pray you've had a wonderful day today, too, and that hearing the details of how we weave saint celebrations into our days inspires you to enjoy focusing on some heroes of faith and virtue, too.
How do you weave saint and virtue studies into your days?