St. Bridget of Sweden, mother of St. Catherine of Sweden, was given a singular relationship with Mary. It manifested in the form of dramatic and beautiful visions. St. Bridget of Sweden, Bridget also spelled Birgit or Brigid, Swedish Sankta Birgitta av Sverige, (born c. 1303, Sweden—died July 23, 1373, Rome [Italy]; canonized October 8, 1391; feast day July 23, formerly October 8), patron saint of Sweden, founder of the Bridgittines (Order of the Most Holy Savior), and a mystic whose revelations were influential during the Middle Ages. The daughter of Birger Persson, governor of Uppland, she had from an early age remarkable religious visions that influenced her entire life and outlook. As a young teenager in 1316 she married Ulf Gudmarsson, later governor of the province of Nericia. She bore eight children, including St. Catherine of Sweden. On the death of her husband in 1344, Bridget retired to a life of penance and prayer near the Cistercian monastery of Alvastra on Lake Vetter. To the prior, Peter Olafsson, she dictated the revelations that came to her, and he translated them into Latin. One was a command to found a new religious order, which she was not able to fulfill until near the end of her life, receiving papal permission from Pope Urban V for her order of cloistered nuns in 1370. She was spurred by a vision to visit the Holy Land in 1372, and she died soon after her return to Rome.
Bridget’s revelations were first published in 1492 and have since been published in many languages. St. Bridget heard the Mother of God explain to her:
"I can therefore boldly say that his pain was my pain since his heart was my heart. For just as Adam and Eve sold the world for an apple, so my Son and I bought back the world as with one heart. Consider therefore, my daughter, how I was at the death of my Son, and it will not be hard for you to give up the world and her cares." (Sermo angelicus, I, 1, c 35, ed. Eklund, p. 56)
She also heard Jesus say:
"I tell you that my Mother and I have saved man as with one heart; I with the pain in my heart and in my flesh, she with the pain and the love of her heart." (Revelationes extravagantes, ed. C. Durante, Romae 1606, c 3, p. 804)
And Mary also said to her:
“My daughter, consider the suffering of my Son, for his limbs were like my own limbs and his heart like my own heart. For just as other children use to be carried in the womb of their mother, so was he in me.” (Revelationes, I, 1, c 35, ed Durante, p. 56)
In another vision, St. Bridget sees Our Lady possessing seven lilies and seven precious stones in her heavenly crown. Each one symbolizes a different quality or characteristic. Seven, of course, is the biblical number symbolizing perfection. Mary is the crown of God's creation!
“The bride saint [St. Bridget] saw the Mother of God, Queen of the Heavens, wearing a priceless crown. Her beautiful shiny hair fell around her shoulders. The Virgin was wearing a brilliant golden tunic and a veil as blue as the sky; Bridget fell into a contemplative ecstasy, as if an internal life alienated her from herself.
All of a sudden Saint John the Baptist appeared and said to her: ‘Listen closely: I am about to reveal the meaning of all of this to you.
The crown means that the Blessed Virgin is the Queen and Lady and Mother of the King of angels.
Her hair signifies that she is the purist of virgins and absolutely perfect.
Her sky blue veil denotes that all worldly things are dead to her.
Her golden tunic symbolizes that she has proved ardent love and charity, both inwardly and outwardly.
Her Son placed seven lilies in her crown, the first is her humility, the second is her fear; the third is her obedience; the fourth her patience; the fifth her serenity; the sixth her sweetness, because she is sweet and gives to all who invoke her when asking for something; the seventh is mercy when in need: because if anyone invokes her she will give them whatever they need.
The Son of God has placed among these seven lilies seven precious stones:
the first stone is her eminent virtue, because there are no spirits that have virtue of a higher degree than that of the Blessed Virgin;
the second stone is her perfect purity because the Queen of Heaven has been so pure that not even the minimal stain of sin has been on her, and no demon has ever managed to find any impurity in her. She is truly the most pure for it was opportune for the King of glory to be placed solely in the purest vessel chosen above all the angels and all mankind.
The third precious stone is her beauty, because the saints praise God for the beauty of His mother and this completes the joy of all the angels and saints.
The fourth precious stone on the crown represents the wisdom of the Virgin Mother because being adorned with splendor and beauty she is filled to the brim and endowed with every wisdom of God.
The fifth precious stone is her strength because through God she is strong enough to destroy and dispose of everything that has been created.
The sixth stone is her sparkle and light, because she illuminates the angels whose eyes are clearer than light and the demons heel to her beauty and do not dare look at her splendor.
The seventh stone is the fullness of every delight, of all spiritual sweetness, present within her with such richness that there is no joy that does not grow from hers, nor any delight that is not completed by the vision of her beauty.’”
In 1999 Pope John Paul II named her one of the patron saints of Europe. John Paul II wrote in his apostolic letter that “St. Bridget brings us to the extreme north of Europe, where the Continent in some way stretches out to unity with the other parts of the world; from there she departed to make Rome her destination.” In a special way, too, because the Scandinavian countries from which Bridget came were separated from full communion with the See of Rome during the tragic events of the 16th century, the figure of this Swedish saint remains a precious ecumenical “bridge,” strengthened by the ecumenical commitment of her Order.
St. Bridget extolled the beauty of Mary and taught “that there is no true joy of ours that does not have its source in Mary! And our delight will find its perfection in beholding her beauty in heaven.
Let us speak with St, Bridget, “Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us!”