If you think that mystical experiences and private revelations were reserved for those in religious life alone, then you haven’t met Saint Bridget of Sweden. While Saint Bridget was a third order Franciscan during her marriage and eventually became a full religious sister after the death of her husband, the majority of her life was spent as a wife and a mother.
There is no sinner in the world, however much at enmity with God, who cannot recover God’s grace by recourse to Mary, and by asking her assistance.Saint Bridget of Sweden
Bridget was a Swedish mystic and visionary who lived in the 1300s. When she was only seven-years-old, Bridget received her first vision of the crucified Christ. Throughout her life, she was deeply devoted to the Passion and the sufferings of Jesus, as well as to the Virgin Mary.
Bridget grew up in a wealthy family and was married to Ulf Gudmarsson when she was just thirteen. Their marriage was a happy one, and they were blessed with eight children – one of whom grew up to be a saint herself. They lived in the royal court where Bridget acted as Lady-in-Waiting to the queen, and Bridget gradually developed great influence over King Magnus II.
In 1343, during a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, Ulf fell ill. Though he recovered enough to finish the pilgrimage, he eventually died on the return journey. Bridget was only around 40 years old.
After the death of her husband, Bridget sold her possessions and dedicated the remainder of her life entirely to God. It was during this time that she received the majority of her visions – around 700 of them. She eventually founded a religious order for men and women known as the Bridgetines. She died on July 23, 1373 and was canonized less than two decades later.
The Prayers of St. Bridget
Saint Bridget composed many prayers throughout her life. Some of these were given to her in private revelations. Though her visions and revelations never received formal approval, the prayers themselves were deemed truthful and good for souls by Pope Pius IX.
O Lord, make haste and illumine the night. Say to my soul that nothing happens without You permitting it, and that nothing of what You permit is without comfort. O Jesus, Son of God, You Who were silent in the presence of Your accusers, restrain my tongue until I find what I should say and how to say it. Show me the way and make me ready to follow it. It is dangerous to delay, yet perilous to go forward. Answer my petition and show me the way. As the wounded go to the doctor in search of aid, so do I come to You. O Lord, give Your peace to my heart. Amen.Saint Bridget of Sweden
The 15 Prayers
This set of prayers meditates on different moments during the Passion of Christ. Each prayer is preceded by a Hail Mary and an Our Father. The entire collection is supposed to be said every day for one year. According to Bridget, this is a way to honor the blows that Jesus received during his Passion. In one of her visions, Jesus appeared to her and said: “I received 5480 blows on My Body. If you wish to honor them in some way, say 15 Our Fathers and 15 Hail Marys with the following Prayers (which He taught her) for a whole year. When the year is up, you will have honored each one of My Wounds.” You can find the Fifteen Prayers of Saint Bridget here.
The 12-Year Prayers of St. Bridget
This collection of prayers is much shorter, but it is to be said for a longer period of time: 12 years, as the name suggests. They were recommended by Pope Clement XII and Pope Innocent X and are a wonderful way to honor the Precious Blood. There are seven prayers altogether. As with the 15 Prayers, each one is preceded by an Our Father and a Hail Mary. The prayers focus on the seven times Jesus’s blood was spilled. You can find Saint Bridget’s Twelve Year Prayers, as well as the promises that come with them, here.
The Seven Sorrows of Mary
Yet another devotion that Saint Bridget spread was that of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. According to Bridget, Mary appeared to her and revealed that she would give seven graces to anyone who prayed 7 Hail Marys daily while meditating on her sorrows. You can find the prayers, with their attached promises, here.
A note about the promises
The promises revealed to Bridget by Christ that come with her prayers are pretty powerful. Naturally, many people are attracted to the prayers because of the promises they carry. It is important to remember, however, that while Saint Bridget’s prayers are approved, the promises are not. This doesn’t mean that they are necessarily false, but it does mean they should be taken with a grain of salt. We can’t know for certain if the promises we read today were preserved perfectly in their original form. Even if they are, we also cannot know whether Saint Bridget understood them perfectly, or explained them sufficiently when she transcribed them in her journal or recited them to her confessor.
Though we shouldn’t place too much stock in the promises, we can still hope that God, in His mercy, will grant them to us. Even if we do not receive the promises mentioned in these prayers, the graces we will receive from meditating daily on Jesus’s Passion are immense. In the end, we shouldn’t embark on any devotional practice because we seek to gain something specific from it. After all, God desires us to seek him for his own sake, not for any fancy promises or rewards we may receive in return.