Ave Maris Stella

July 19th, 1992
Brother John Raymond

	St. Bridget was born in Sweden in 1303. Her father and mother
 were pious Catholics. The family would discuss the stories of the
 martyrs who died for the faith in Sweden. The castle the family lived
 in contained a chapel in which little child would attend Holy Mass
 daily. When she was ten a sermon about Our Lord's sufferings pierced
 her to the heart. She was so distraught that night that Jesus appeared
 to her on the Cross. She asked Him who has done this. He replied,
 "Those who despise Me and forget My love." For this time forward
 Christ crucified was imprinted on her soul. 
	She married a wealthy man named Ulf who later was to occupy
 a high office of the State. Saint Bridget became the mother of eight
 children. Also she was in charge of running their vast estate. This
 was no small task in the 1300's. There were spinning wheels and looms,
 orchards and fields, brewing, storing fruit, baking, dovecots,
 poultry yards, and beehives to contend with. Every day, before sitting
 down to eat St. Bridget would serve a meal to twelve poor people. On
 Thursdays she would even wash their feet in imitation of Our Blessed
 Lord. St. Bridget would always take her children along on works of
 mercy to the poor to train them in doing good works for others.
	After twenty-five years of marriage St. Bridget and her husband
 received an inspiration to voluntarily seperate and become religious.
 For three years Ulf lived as a guest in a Cistercian abbey where he
 died. Later St. Bridget was given permission to live as a guest of
 this same monastery. She now began a life of intensive penance,
 prayer, and mortification. She had frequent visions of Our Lord's
 Passion along with representations of Heaven, hell and purgatory.
 She would often see souls she had prayed for who were dying or in
 purgatory ascending to Heaven.
	Saint Bridget received the gift of prophecy. She administered
 strong rebukes by Heaven's command to those leading evil lives. Many
 denounced her and some even threatened to burn her. She advised many
 high people in office, even the king himself.
	Saint Bridget was entrusted with two main missions from Heaven
 both of which she labored at diligently but were to be completed by
 others. Our Lord revealed to her that He wished her to found a new
 contemplative religious order based on a rule which He was to give
 her. This new order, now known as the Bridgettines, were to have a
 great impact on the Church under the guidance of her daughter, Saint
 Katherine, who became the first Superior. Today there are still a
 number of houses in Europe, such as Syon Abbey in Devon, England.
	The second mission was to try to persuade the Holy Father to
 return to Rome from France. Though she sent many messages to him she
 would not live to see him return. But she paved the way for another
 great mystic, St. Catherine of Siena who would succeed in bringing
 the Pope back to Rome.
	St. Bridget lived in Rome with her daughter Katherine. They
 helped the poor, the afflicted, and the sinners. The miraculous began
 to be publicly observed in the life of St. Bridget. She healed the
 sick, was raised off the ground during prayer, and had many visions.
 Long before she had joined the third order of Saint Francis and had
 pleasure of seeing him in a vision when visiting his shrine. Before
 her life came to a close she was commanded by Our Lord to visit the
 Holy Land. During this visit she had many visions of the life of Jesus
 and Mary.
	Now as her life came to a close St. Bridget was to suffer the
 martyrdom of faith. All visions and heavenly consolations ceased. She
 was plagued with the temptation that her life was a failure. However
 towards her last days on earth the Blessed Mother appeared to her and
 exhorted her to practice patience in the expiation of the negligences
 and defects of her life through her illnesses. She ended her life as
 a lesson to us all with the words, "Lord into Thy hands I commend my
	After her death innumerable cures were reported through her
 intercession. So great was the effect of this great saint that even
 today the largely Lutheran Swedish nation honors her considering her
 one of their great women of Sweden.
	During a riot at Rome, a mob came to the house where St.
 Bridget lived. One of the leaders talked of burning St. Bridget alive.
 She prayed to Our Lord to know if she should escape to safety. Jesus
 advised her to stay saying, "It doesn't matter if they plot your death.
 My power will break the malice of your enemies. I was crucified only
 because I permitted it." Our Blessed Mother added, "Sing as a group
 the Ave Maris Stella (Hail, Star of the Sea) and I'll guard you from
 every danger."

Ave Maris Stella (Written by an unknown author before the ninth

Hail Thou star of ocean
Portal of the sky
Ever virgin Mother
Of the Lord Most High

O! by Gabriel's Ave,
Uttered long ago,
Eva's name reversing
Established peace below

Break the captives' fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore

As Thou art our Mother,
Offer Him our sighs,
Who for us incarnate
Did not Thee despise

Virgin of all virgins
To Thy shelter take us,
Gentlest of the gentle
Chaste and gentle make us

Still, as on we journey,
Help our weak endeavor,
Till with Thee and Jesus
We rejoice forever
Through the highest heaven,
To the Almighty Three
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.