St. Bridget was born in 1303, the daughter of a Swedish Prince. Bridget’s mother was a descendant of Gothic kings. The parish priest at Rasbo, Father Benedict, was praying for Bridget’s mother during the delivery. As he prayed, he found himself in a luminous cloud, out of which Our Lady appeared and said to him, “A child has been born at Birger; her voice will be heard by the entire world.” Her parents trained her in the Roman Catholic Faith and she inherited their great love for the Passion of Our Lord. Bridget’s father set aside Fridays as special days to do acts of penance. When she was seven, Bridget had visions of Our Crucified Lord. Bridget’s mother died when she was 12 and she was raised by an aunt. When Bridget was 14, she married a Swedish Prince, Ulf Gugmarsson. The couple had a happy life and were the parents of eight children. One of St. Bridget’s daughters became a Saint, St. Catherine of Vadstena, but a son Charles, was unfortunately a notorious sinner and caused his mother great sadness. King Magnus of Sweden was taking a bride, Blanche, Queen of France. Bridget became a lady-in-waiting to Blanche and made pleas with the couple to reform their worldly lives. Although the royal couple loved Bridget, they ignored her. In 1340, Bridget experienced the death of her youngest son and made a pilgrimage with her husband to the shrine of St. Olaf in Norway. The couple then journeyed on to Spain. Along the way her husband became ill. Bridget had a vision of St. Denis, who assured her Ulf would recover and this is exactly what happened.
Four years later, in 1344, St. Bridget’s husband died while they were on a visit to a Cistercian monastery. After the death of her husband, St. Bridget stayed at the Cistercian monastery for four years, and received much in the way of spiritual grace and revelations. St. Bridget built a great monastery in Sweden which became the motherhouse of the Brigittine Order. The year 1350 had been designated by the Catholic Church a “Year of Jubilee.” Although the Black Death was ravaging Europe, St. Bridget decided to make a pilgrimage to Rome. Bridget continued to live in Rome, where she gave advice to popes, recorded many works describing her mystical experiences, helped the poor and the sick and helped the Brigittine Order she founded, which experienced financial difficulties and opposition. While she was on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, her wayward son, Charles, died from a fever and she was also shipwrecked. Bridget continued on with her pilgrimage and returned to Rome in 1372. St. Bridget died in Rome on July 23, 1373. Her daughter, Catherine, transferred her remains to the monastery of the Brigittines in Vadstena, Sweden.
This lemonade is named for St. Bridget because the Fifteen St. Bridget Prayers are as spiritually refreshing for the soul, as lemonade on a hot day. I would encourage everyone to order a Blue Pieta Book, from The Light Weigh. The Fifteen St. Bridget of Sweden Prayers are in this little book and they will profoundly affect you for the good. St. Bridget had wanted to know for a long time, the number of blows Our Lord received during His Passion. Jesus appeared to her in the church of St. Paul in Rome, above the tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. St. Bridget knelt there, as she received the fifteen prayers from Our Lord, which if said for one year honor every wound on His Body.
St. Bridget of Sweden Family Lemonade
Feast Day: July 23rd
You can give your family a lesson in faith, as you make this lemonade!
1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 lemons)
4 c. water
¾ c. to 1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. crushed ice
Put the water in the pitcher.
Juice enough lemons to get one cup of juice. Have your children taste the plain lemon juice, so they will see how sour it is! Pour the lemon juice into the pitcher of water and add the sugar. Stir well. Put some ice in glasses and pour the lemonade over the ice.
Now taste the lemon juice after it has been sweetened with the sugar!
The lemon juice without sugar is like a life without faith in God or prayer.
The sweet lemonade is like life with faith in God and prayer! Our Catholic Faith is a tremendous aid to us!
Copyright Building the Family Cookbook, 2003, Suzanne Fowler.