Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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Subject Topic: St. Bridget--why the shells? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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jdostalik
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Posted: Oct 31 2006 at 3:07pm | IP Logged Quote jdostalik

My oldest dd is going to our All Hallow's Eve Party this evening as St. Bridget of Sweden. A popular picture from which we modeleled her costume this year shows sea shells sewn onto her shawl/cape. Anyone know why? I did a bit of research online and came up empty!

I figured one of you wise women would know! I know we'll get asked tonight!



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JennGM
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Posted: Oct 31 2006 at 3:19pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

From Saints Preserve Us I found the answer:

Bridget's visions compeller her to distribute advice worldwide--to several kings and even to the pope, then at Avignon. She embarded ona series of pilgrimages, the last being to the Holy Land (where she saw all the scenes of the Passion reenacted), and never retnred to Sweden...On this same pilgrimage, Bridget was almost shipwrecked off the coast of Jaffa, which may explain why she is depicted in religious art with seashells pinned on her cloak.

But also the shells are the symbol of the pilgrim and pilgrimages, see some info on St. James to see what I mean.

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Martha
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Posted: Oct 31 2006 at 3:23pm | IP Logged Quote Martha

I know!! My Bridget Darling is named for her!
Shells are symbolic of travels and pilgrimages. Which she was very well known for. This is a neat site for learning about these things.
the sign language of the church - symbols and their meanings

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kjohnson
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Posted: Oct 31 2006 at 3:26pm | IP Logged Quote kjohnson

OK, I'll help you out, Jennifer, since I don't want to watch you cringe everytime someone asks you why your dd has sea shells sewed to her tunic tonight!   
Love, K

It looks like the shell is a symbol emerging life and the star over the stable at Bethlehem and originates from the Celtic custom celebrated on the eve of St. Bridget's (St. Bride)feast:

"On Bride’s Eve, young girls made a female figure from a sheaf of corn, and decorated it with colored shells and sparkling crystals, together with snowdrops and primroses and other early spring flowers and greenery. An especially bright shell, symbol of emerging life, or crystal was placed over its heart, called in Gaelic, the “guiding star of Bride,” after the star over the stable in Bethlehem that led Bride to the Christ child. The figure was named Bride or Brideag, Little Bride, and was carried about the town in procession by the young girls who were called banal Bride, the “Bride Maiden band,” all dressed in white and wearing their hair down, personifying the spirit of purity and youth."

"Everyone they visited had to pay homage to Bride and give her a gift such as a flower or a crystal, while the mothers gave bannocks, cheese or butter, reciprocating Bride’s lavish gifts of food. When they had finished their rounds, the girls spent the night at a house where the figure was made to sit in state, while the girls prepared the Bride feast for the next day. The young men of the town soon came knocking at the door and were let in to pay tribute to Bride, after which there were songs, dancing and much merrymaking until the break of day. At first light, they all joined hands and sang a hymn to Bride, and shared out the remains of the feast among the poor women of the town."

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