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Celtic Monastic Women

In the church and in Celtic life, men and women were equal. There were even many dual monasteries where men and women lived secluded lives together. There were many Irish saints who were women. The most famous one is Saint Bridget of Kildare. Second only to Saint Patrick, she is the patroness of Ireland. She was the daughter of a Christian slave girl and a Druid master. Known as “Mary of the Gaels,” she founded a double monastery in Kildare, where she served as abbess until her death. Saint Ita, originally named Deidre, was the abbess of a monastery she founded in Kileedy, County Limerick. She taught Saint Brendan when he was a young boy in her school for boys. She is known as the “Foster-Mother of the Saints of Erin.” A few other Irish female monasteries are those founded by Saint Darerca and Saint Ibar. Their history in detail is unknown (Joyce 45).
Last updated on 28th November 2000.
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