St Birgitta of Sweden (1303-1372)

Bishop Hemming and St. Birgitta

Birgitta of Sweden , like Hildegard of Bingen , began her intense political and authorial career suddenly in her forties. Birgitta was widowed in 1344 and at that point commenced her role as prophet not just to Sweden but to all of Europe. She had already had visions, and so did others concerning her. These visions she now wrote down with the help of major Swedish ecclesiasts, one of them Master Mathias, who had studied Hebrew under Nicholas Lyra in Paris, an Augustinian Canon who was associated with Dominicans, and who translated the Bible into Swedish for her. She spoke of Master Mathias and of many others in her circle as ‘ Friends of God ‘. Her first agenda was the reform of King Magnus of Sweden, who was much in need of it. But she was also deeply concerned about Europe, particularly about the Hundred Years’ War being waged between England and France, and the exile of the Popes to Avignon. Master Mathias in 1347 was delegated by Bishop Hemming of Abo to take the document to the Kings of England and France and to the Pope in which Christ and the Virgin order them to cease their war and the Pope to return to Rome.

 

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