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The Shrine of Brigit at Kildare

The Goddess Brigid's Shrine at Kildare was kept by her Priestesses. Nineteen Priestesses kept her Sacred Flame, going year round. If the shrine was under attack a Priestess would hide a burning coal from the fire so that the flame would never go out. As soon as the danger was gone, the Priestesses would re-kindle the fire from the saved coal. For hundreds of years the fire was never allowed to die out.

Once Christianity took over Ireland, the flame was tended by the Nuns of the Abbey at Kildare. Eventually Brigid became Saint Brigid, and the nuns secluded themselves away from all men. Women of the nearby village would bring their food and supplies.

Around 1220 BCE, a Bishop in charge of the area insisted that the nuns of the Abbey must allow a male priest to come and inspect the Shrine of Brigid. The Abbess pleaded that he send a woman rather than a priest to the Abbey, but she was ordered to submit by the Patriarchal Bishop. Apparently the nuns, because they were women must be subservient to men and male priests. :( To be sure that the nuns were properly chastised, he decided to prohibit the keeping of the Sacred Flame and ordered it extinguished. The legend is that the Mother Superior took a burning ember from the flame and hid it inside a large hollow rosary bead, until she could transport it to a safe place where the flame could be secretly re-kindled and tended.

The Sacred Flame was protected and kept safe by women until it could be rekindled in it's rightful place.

The Sacred Flame of Kildare was relit in The Shrine of Brigid at Kildare & also in the United States of America in 1996 !


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