Thursday, December 16, 2010

St. Bega (7th century)

 "In the bleak mid-winter frosty wind made moan
  Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
  Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
  Snow on snow, in the bleak mid-winter, long ago.

  Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him,
  Nor earth sustain;
  Heaven and earth shall flee away
  When he comes to reign:
  In the bleak mid-winter
  A stable-place sufficed
  The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ."
                                (Christina Rossetti, 1872)

    In recent years, A Celtic Christmas Sojourn with Brian O'Donovan has become a holiday tradition for me. It's a fun night in Providence where I can dress festively and celebrate all things Irish in a month other than March.
   Being raised in an French/Italian American family this is all new to me although I remember my mother saying that her best friends were all Irish. She respected the faith they had in the Roman Catholic Church and would often ask Wini, Cynthia, Marie, or Joyce why good people die young.
  "Marilyn," Marie said. "Sometimes, God takes people before their time because if they had lived longer they may have done something that couldn't be forgiven."
  My mother loved having dinner at Joyce's because they would say the rosary in the evening which was unheard of at her house.
  So, in my own life, I enjoy experiencing the music and traditions of other ethnicities like I did tonight at A Celtic Christmas Sojourn. "Mrs. Fogarty's Christmas Cake" and "All On a Christmas Morning" were my favorites and there were also traditional carols like "The Bleak Midwinter" and "Silent Night."
  Among the hundreds of saints who were from Ireland is St. Bega (also known as St. Bee) who lived in the 7th century. She was an Irish princess, who instead of marrying a Norwegian prince, fled the Irish sea to England.
  There St. Bega, a virgin, became a nun and founded St. Bee's Monastery. She lived for a time as a hermitess. Her feast day is Oct. 31.

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