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The Life And Writings Of Saint Patrick -Saint Patrick

In the Third and Fourth Lives of St. Brigid of Kildare we find a very interesting statement regarding that saint’s promise to make a winding sheet for the blessed body of St. Patrick. It would appear that Brigid with several of her nuns paid a visit to St. Patrick when he was biding at Saul in his old age. One day, whilst Patrick was preaching to the people in the presence of Brigid and her nuns, a luminous cloud came down from the sky and stood for a while poised in mid-air, close to the assembly. Then sweeping slowly onward, the cloud settled over the fort of Leth Glaisse, or Downpatrick, to the amazement of all the beholders.

Full of awe, they feared to ask Patrick what the cloud signified, but they asked Brigid, and at Patrick’s bidding Brigid told them the meaning of the vision. “Patrick’s Angel,” she said, “is borne in that cloud of glory, and he has come here first to show us that Patrick will die here, and his body will remain here for some days; and then the Angel went to the fort or hill of Down to show that Patrick’s body will be taken from this to be buried in Down, and there it will remain until the day of judgment. I, too, and another saint to be called Columcille, shall rest in the same grave, and we shall rise together from that tomb on the last day.”

Then all the people were amazed and gave praise to God, and Patrick asked Brigid to weave with her own hands the winding sheet in which his body would rest in the tomb. Brigid faithfully promised to do so, and had the holy shroud ready against the day of Patrick’s death, and in that shroud his body was laid. This statement in the Lives of St. Brigid is also valuable because it describes exactly what took place after the death of Patrick at Saul, and so far confirms the statements in the Tripartite and the Book of Armagh. But the tone of the prophecy, as a prophecy, is very artificial, and rather indicates what was known than what was foretold to the writer.






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