"With the coming of Christianity, the priestesses became nuns of the abbey said to have been founded by 'Saint Brigit' and were called Inghean an Dagha[‘Daughters of Fire’], tending a fire of peat bricks, fed with hawthorn twigs, which was said to burn without ash or waste. The place of the fire was described as being twenty feet square, with a stone roof. The abbey kept the flame burning for another thousand years until 1220 when the Archbishop of Dublin, shocked at this evidence of Pagan of fire-worship under the mask of Christianity, ordered the Kildare fire to be extinguished. It was, however, relit and maintained until the suppression of the nunnery during the reign of Henry VIII. During the Vatican modernisation program of the 1960's St. Brigit was decanonised- the church could find no evidence of such a saint, only a Pagan goddess."
Same source states that Kildare was main Pagan sanctuary for the goddess Brigid. If so, what could have been more natural for a Pagan family in the area than to name their daughter Brigid? It seems one did so, she was baptised, she became a nun, and a friend of St Patrick.
But it seems also some people are so eager to find Pagan roots and syncretism in Catholicism that they cannot think as far as concluding "ah, then the St Brigid as honoured by the Irish is that Pagan girl who became a Christian nun" - they must simply seek some opportunity to conclude otherwise, against the reasonable reading of the complete evidence and say instead: "St Bride is a Pagan goddess". It also seems they had their day even in the Vatican just after Vatican II.
The last idiot is not born yet, a friend used to say.
G Pompidou, Beaubourg
31 janv 2010