Birgitta of Sweden
Reference work entry
The Catholic Christian Saint Birgitta (Birgitta Birgersdotter, Birgitta of Vadstena) is considered by many to be the foremost saint of Sweden. (Although her name is sometimes Anglicized as “Bridget,” she is not identified with either the Celtic goddess or the Irish saint.) She was born in 1303 to the Swedish knight Birger Persson, a wealthy landowner and governor, and his wife Ingeborg, a woman of royal blood. In her early teens, Birgitta was married to a nobleman, Ulf Gudmarsson, and bore eight children, including a daughter who would become St. Catherine of Sweden. Together the couple joined the Third Order of Franciscans. From childhood, Birgitta received mystical visions and felt deeply called to a missionary life of prophecy and piety. In 1341, after fulfilling a dutiful term in the court of her cousin, King Magnus Eriksson, she and Ulf made the popular pilgrimage to the grave of the Apostle James, Santiago de Compostela, in northwest Spain. The journey was arduous and took over...
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