Feast day: July 23
Saint Bridget of Sweden was born in 1303 and from an early age experienced visions of the Nativity, the Crucifixion, and Purgatory. These visions became well-known and inspired artistic depictions.
Married at age 14 to Magnus II, the king of Sweden, Saint Bridget bore eight children, four boys and four girls. (Her second daughter, Catherine, eventually became Saint Catherine of Sweden.) Bridget became widely known for her kindness and many works of charity. After her husband’s death, she continued to live in service to those in need and dedicated her life to the well-being of the Church.
She founded an order of men and women, the Order of the Most Holy Savior, whose members eventually came to be known as “Bridgettines.” Each monastery was envisioned as a double monastery, with men and women living in separate cloisters. In her Rule, Saint Bridget provided that, "an abbess, signifying the Virgin Mary, should preside over both monks and nuns." The Bridgettines still serve today around the world, although double monasteries are no longer in existence. In the United States, there is a monastery for women in Connecticut and one for men in Oregon.
(Image Hermann Rode, late 15th century; derivative work: Beao, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)