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St Brigid of Kildare: patron saint and Ireland’s first abortionist

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1 February represents the first day of Spring to many, and is also the feast day of St Brigid of Kildare – Ireland’s only female patron saint and known as Ireland’s first abortionist. But who was St Brigid of Kildare?

St Brigid of Kildare is one of three national saints of Ireland. She is the patroness of poetry, learning, healing and protection, among other things, and, through medieval hagiographies, is known for performing miracles.

One of the miracles performed by St Brigid was Ireland’s first abortion. In 650 AD, Cogitosus told the story of St Brigid using the strength of her faith to perform an abortion that restores virtue to a nun:

“A certain woman who had taken the vow of chastity fell, through youthful desire of pleasure and her womb swelled with child. Brigid, exercising the most potent strength of her ineffable faith, blessed her, causing the child to disappear, without coming to birth, and without pain.”

In fact, several saints are recorded as performing abortions as part of their miracles. These are not miracles sanctioned by the Catholic church, and is not present in modern translations of original writings about St Brigid or the other saints. But as St Brigid is “arguably the most beloved Irish saint”, and 1 February is the first day of Spring, we think it’s well worth celebrating Ireland’s first abortionist today.

Speaking of abortion miracles… you can make them happen too! What is funding someone’s abortion if not a kind of magic?

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