Bridget of Sweden

c.1303-1373. Founder of the Brigittines.* Daughter of the governor of Uppland, she had from an early age spiritual influences that directed the course of her life. She married and had eight children, but on her husband's death in 1344 she retired to a life of penance and prayer. To the prior of the nearby Cistercian monastery at Alvastra she dictated her revelations, and he translated them into Latin. One vision commanded her to found a new religious order (of St. Bridget, or of the Most Holy Savior), and for this she secured the necessary papal permission in 1370. The order flourished in Sweden until the Reformation. In 1350 she went to Rome, and she remained there for the rest of her life, apart from several pilgrimages, one of which was to the Holy Land the year before her death. In Rome she ministered widely to rich and poor, homeless and sinners, giving God's messages in a restless and corrupt age. She was canonized in 1391; one of her daughters was Catherine of Sweden.*