Bridget of Sweden
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Saint Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden
Altarpiece in Salem church, Södermanland, Sweden (restored digitally)
|Born||December 15, 1303|
|Died||23 July 1373|
Rome, Papal States
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Canonized||7 October 1391 by Pope Boniface IX|
|Major shrine||Vadstena Abbey|
8 October (General Roman Calendar of 1960)
7 October (Sweden)
|Attributes||Pilgrim's hat, staff & bag; crown, writing-book.|
|Patronage||Europe, Sweden, Widows|
A few months before she was born, her mother was in a shipwreck. Many people died, but her mother was saved by the king's brother. In a dream the night after her rescue, she was told that she was saved because the child in her womb was very special, and was a gift from God. After Bridget was born, she wanted to live her life as a holy woman, but it was hard, because she was one of only two surviving children in her family. When she was 14 years old, she was forced to marry 18-year-old Ulf Gudmarsson. This was hard for her because she believed that staying a virgin would be the closest state to God.
After Ulf died, God sent a message to tell Bridget to come to Rome. That same year, Bridget packed up her bags and headed off to Rome, never to return to her hometown again. In 1370, Pope Urban V made her religious group official. She eventually became famous for helping to restoring the papacy in Rome.