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History

“I will plant a new vineyard: you will bring to it new vines, I will fertilize them with my grace and they will put forth new shoots.”

With these words Christ called Bridget of Sweden to found a new Religious Order of double monasteries. This happened at Alvastra in Sweden, in the shadow of the renowned Cistercian Monastery where Bridget had settled in 1346 after the death of her husband Ulf Gudmarsson.

Christ’s command gave the life of Bridget a new direction and a new mission, and she used the following years, while she continued to live in Sweden, to ensure for the future Order a location and the possibility of existence.

In 1349, she set off for Rome, for the Holy Year of 1350 and to ask the Pope’s approval of the Rule of her Order, but this desire was fulfilled only twenty years later, on 5th August, 1370 by Pope Urban V, who gave an official recognition to the Order.

The years, which followed the death of Bridget in Rome on 23rd July 1373, saw the realization of her vision in regard to her Order. It was granted to Catherine, her daughter to see the vine grow; to which vine was entrusted the task of bringing new strength and new life to the then hard-pressed Church.

The tree of this new vineyard of Christ became a massive trunk from which grew many new shoots: the foundation of the monastery of Vadstena in Sweden (the cradle of the Bridgettine Order and now a Swedish National Monument), was soon followed by 27 other foundations which in their turn with passing of time, were to give origin to a series of affiliated foundations which reached the number of 70. The Lutheran Reformation of the 16th century caused grave damages to the Bridgettine Order.

In 1911, God in His great mercy sent Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad, a Swedish convert to Roman Catholicism, to revive the Order. It was approved as a Pontifical Institute by the Holy See on 7th July 1940. It passed into a direct dependence on the Congregation “de Propaganda Fide”, the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples on 2nd December 1942.

As a result of the historical connection and spiritual affinity between the new Religious Institute and the original Order founded by St. Bridget of Sweden following the “Regula Sancti Salvatoris”, the foundation established by Blessed Mother Elizabeth was recognized as an Order with simple vows under the name of the “Order of the Most Holy Savior”. Members of the Order are also called “Sisters of Saint Bridget” or “Bridgettine Sisters. The foundation has as its center the house in Rome in Piazza Farnese, where our Mother Foundresses, St. Bridget and Blessed Mother Elizabeth lived and died.


Charism

The charism of the Sisters of St. Bridget or the Bridgettine Sisters, is in their generous offering to give glory to God and the service to humanity through prayer, adoration, reparation and ecumenical activities.

Monastic

Adoration of the Holy Eucharist is a privilege to a Bridgettine Sister not only during the celebration of the Holy Mass each day, but also every moment of the day. The Blessed Eucharist is the heart of their life.

Apostolic

Bridgettine Sisters gave witness to their solidarity to the Universal Church of God through its communal singing of the “Liturgy of the Hours” – an adoration together with the choir of angels in Heaven.

Missionary

With Mary, our Blessed Mother, the true model of womanhood, the Bridgettine Sister is a servant of love for others dedicating their time for the economic welfare and benefit of the poor.

Prayer is the nucleus of all our activities. Our lifestyle is centered round it. We sanctify the hours of the day by praying and adoring the Eucharistic Lord. This is the source and strength of all the Bridgettines.


Spirituality

The basic elements of our spirituality, which correspond to the original inspiration of the Bridgettine Order and to the special charisma of Blessed Mother Elizabeth are, in the first place, the contemplation of God and the celebration, especially through prayer and the liturgy, of the marvels worked by Christ our Savior and also the ecclesial commitment.

The spirituality of our Order has its roots in the Cistercian spirituality from which St. Bridget draw inspiration in founding her Order which, like a tree sprung up from deep and solid roots, was able to grow in the Church and give expression to the particular charisma given by Christ himself to St. Bridget. It is clear that her love for the Liturgy springs from these sources. In fact, she desired the special aim of her Order to be the giving of praise to God through the Holy Mass, the Divine Office and the study of the Sacred Scripture, which she called her “most precious treasure”. St. Bridget also cherished a most tender devotion to the Humanity of the Word and an affectionate attachment to the Blessed Virgin. From this devotion (to the Humanity of the Word), centered in a particular way on the Crucifixion, comes the reparative character, which she impressed on her Order. Both these devotions were centralized in a particular manner in the scene on Calvary, in Jesus Christ Himself Crucified and His sorrowful Mother beneath the Cross. In this way, we retain our family motto: “Amor Meus Crucifixus Est” as the most concentrated and most authentic spirituality of our Order; also as the ground and root of the reparative character which St. Bridget impressed on her religious foundation. A unique sign and daily reminder of this our spiritual character and corresponding commitment is the crown with the symbol of the five wounds which we wear on the veil; this too, together with the traditional habit, is a sign of our inviolable consecration to Love Crucified.

Blessed Mother Elizabeth raised up by God to continue, develop and express in our times the particular charism of St. Bridget, grafts her new Branch on to the old trunk, giving new life and a new aim to its reparative character, namely: the unity of the Church.

Like, St. Bridget, Blessed Mother Elizabeth too, stresses on love for the Holy Mass, the Divine Office and the study of the Sacred Scripture. She adopts for her branch the same devotion to the Humanity of the Word and gives it a special expression in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Moreover, like St. Bridget, she puts as the basis for her Order the spirit of humility and simplicity expressed in a particular manner in humble service of neighbor through hospitality.

The new branch of the Bridgettine Order founded by Blessed Mother Elizabeth has kept the spirit of a reparative and monastic character of the ancient Order, but with the deep insight into the needs of our times.


History: Philippines

10th August 1998, zealous Bridgettine Sisters left from Rome and India to start their mission in the Philippines. They are destined to start a new Bridgettine branch in this country so that the spirit and sanctity of St. Bridget and Blessed Mother Elizabeth may spread and the Apostolic and ecclesial activity of the Holy Order contributes to the corresponding expansion and division among Christians in this place. God in His Most loving heart sent four fervent souls from India so that the good news of His Glorious Kingdom will reach to every part of this country. They are Sr. Maria, Sr. Vincentia, Sr Jessie and Mo. Lucy as the superior. For the meantime, the sisters stayed at Laverna, Tagaytay City and they chose to build their first foundation in Mag-asawang Ilat, Tagaytay . God sent good and fervent vocations to the new community, called to spread the good news of love and service to all mankind.

After almost three years of great sacrifices on the new foundation, this new Bridgettine convent was officially inaugurated on 13th February 2001 celebrated by Msgr. Manuel Sobrevinas D.D., Bishop of Imus with the presence of Mother M. Tekla, Abbess General of the Order with her companions from Rome.

Tagaytay community renders a retreat house and a social welfare center. It is a novitiate formation house and a house of Prayer. There are already many Filipina sisters who have generously responded to the call of spiritual life. For this, another beautiful house of St. Bridget and Blessed Mother Elizabeth has recently been built in Montevista , Davao. The new shoot was started last March 25, 2003. It is a pre-novitiate house rendering a pre-school and a clinic for the poor and the needy.

So it was by another God given intuition that this Holy Order came in the Philippines. it has yielded fruit, hundredfold and there are already many happy souls from the different corners of the country came to dedicate their lives wholeheartedly and to serve our Dear Lord joyfully.

 

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"I dare to summon the whole Church bravely to cross this new threshold, to put out into the deep of the Net, so that now as in the past the great engagement of the Gospel and culture may show to the world 'the glory of God on the face of Christ' (2 Cor 4:6)".

- John Paul II
 
36th World Communications Day

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St. Bridget's Prayer House 

and Retreat House

at Tagaytay City

 

 

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