Pastoral Notes July 17th, 2016

A PATRON OF EUROPE
On 11th July was the feast of St Benedict, Abbot, a patron of Europe, source in the 6th century of the extension of monastic life throughout the Continent. On the 23rd July is the feast of another patron of Europe, Bridget of Sweden, (b. 1303) a mother of eight children, serving at the Swedish royal court, but giving up ‘the world’ when her husband died, and founding several convents, where the abbess ruled, and priests were only chaplains. She moved to Rome (a period when the popes were absent in Avignon, France) and preaching to them to return to their proper diocese of Rome. Her house in Rome is close to the English College for priests and now a church also with a shrine to an English martyr, member of St Bridget’s Order. In the diocese we have a Bridgettine Convent in Iver, Bucks, and in Birmingham a convent serves the Maryvale Institute of further religious studies.