St. Brigid, Canton, will host a special Mass Feb. 4 for the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians to celebrate the Irish saint for which the 153-year-old parish was named.
About 100 members of the LAOH from 12 different Maryland divisions are expected to flock to the special 1:30 p.m. Mass in honor of St. Brigid’s Day.
“We hold this in a different Catholic church in a different part of the state every year,” said Natalie Harvey, a member of the Howard County division of LAOH and a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist, Columbia. “It just so happens that we’re holding it at St. Brigid’s this year, so it’s kind of special.”
Lunch will follow the mass at the James Joyce Restaurant on President Street.
Born in 451 in Ireland, St. Brigid founded a Christian monastery around 470 where the famous illuminated manuscript the Book of Kildare was created.
While St. Patrick is associated with the shamrock, a tiny cross made of rushes has been allied with St. Brigid. Irish legend suggests she made the cross from rushes she found on the ground beside a dying man in an effort to convert him to Catholicism.
Some houses in Ireland are adorned with a Brigid’s Cross to protect it from fire and each year on Feb. 1 – St. Brigid’s Day – a new cross is made and the old one is burned.
“Women proposing marriage to men during Leap Year is also traced to St. Brigid,” Ms. Harvey said. “I think that sets a good example for women.”
Though husbands and males guests of the LAOH members often attend the Mass, Ms. Harvey said this event is an opportunity for women of Irish decent to celebrate their sisterhood close to the feast day of a patron saint of Ireland.
The actual feast of St. Brigid is Feb. 1, but the LAOH will come together the following Sunday to hold their annual festivity.
“We also try and emulate the good works of St. Brigid,” said Carole Franz of Fallston, a member of the Harford County LAOH Division 1 and a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist, Hydes. “I’ve been going for as long as I can remember. I look forward to being together with our fellow sisters from all over the state.”