Q & A with Jane Meyer, Author of The Life of St. Brigid
The Life of St. Brigid was recently published by Conciliar Press. To order your copy, click here.
1. Tell us about what sparked your interest in St. Brigid, and inspired you to write the book.
Working with illustrator and seminarian Zachary Lynch on The Life of Saint Patrick: Enlightener of the Irish, I learned about Saint Brigid. After diving into research on Brigid, I absolutely fell in love with her. Her story is not well known outside of Europe and I felt that more folks should be inspired by the life she lived.
2. St. Brigid inspires us all, but what can today’s young girls especially learn from St Brigid’s life?
Saint Brigid is just the kind of example we should be putting before our children, and their children. She was better than a superhero--she was the epitome of goodness and giving. In a world where we are taught to work hard--so that we might have more, we find Saint Brigid showing us how we can gain all we need by giving some of what we have away. She loved her neighbors with such ferocity that she, in the wake of Saint Patrick, helped evangelize an entire land for Christ. I wrote The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare to inspire others to walk in her footsteps—I wrote it that I might be inspired myself, and reach out more—every day, even if that simply means baking an extra loaf of bread-one for me, and one for the man next door.
3. Tell us about your involvement locally in your parish and community in a group inspired by the saint.
Our Antiochian parish, St. Athanasius Orthodox Church, has a ministry called St. Brigid Fellowship. Its mission is to serve the many homeless folks who live near our parish home. Not only do they provide weekly dinners, but they also have created a type of operation central where the homeless can have access to computers to look for jobs, they can use the telephones, and have a mailing address. My involvement with the fellowship is minimal at the moment, but we all chip in when we can, offering blankets and warm coats, and food. Just a few weeks ago my whole family and some high school students cooked a Saturday breakfast for about forty people. Pancakes, sausages, eggs, orange juice--the works—it was great! Individually, the one thing I’ve focused on doing more is baking for my neighbors. I come from a long line of bakers, and enjoy working with dough. I try to bake several times a week, and each time I do I’m committed to giving half of it away. Most of the time I simply walk a loaf next door, but now and again I’ll take it to the streets and just see who I stumble across. When I offer a loaf of homemade bread to someone, I’m not just offering them nourishment, I’m trying to give them something of myself. I’m inspired by how St. Brigid offered food to the beggars at her door.
4. What message do you think St. Brigid would communicate to followers of Christ in the 21st century?
Thankfully, her story still speaks to us today. And I have no doubt in the powers of her prayers—even though she resides on the other side of this thin veil of time and place…
If she were walking on this earth today, she would speak of Christ, just as she did long ago. Her mission was to show her love of Christ by serving others—so today you might find her toiling away in the aftermath of a disaster, or in the rundown tenements where the poor struggle to survive. She would travel to India and be a Mother Teresa or sit on the White House steps till they let her in so she could speak to the president about social injustice—and Christ. She would establish monasteries, as she did then, but always be willing to share in even the most mundane work. But always it would be about Christ—her motives of helping others would stem from her love for her Lord. She was a radical then, giving away her father’s (most prized) sword to a leper and scarring her face because she didn’t want to marry. She surely would be one, now. And she would encourage all of us to love Christ with that same energy and enthusiasm as she did. She would inspire us to dream big—she inspires me, though she walked this earth fifteen hundred years ago.