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Rosemary Bogdan discusses the lavish promises of St. Bridget of Sweden’s 12-Year Prayers.

If there were a prayer you could say every day that would ensure that none of your children, grandchildren and two generations after that would be lost would you say that prayer?

According to St. Bridget of Sweden, whose feast day we celebrate on July 23, the Lord gave her such a prayer with that promise as well as four others.

Born in 1303 in Sweden, Bridget married Ulf Gudmarrson with whom she had eight children. After the death of her husband she founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior, the Brigittines.

As a widow, St. Bridget experienced many revelations. In her time, she was recognized as having the gift of prophecy. These revelations include dialogues between the Persons of the Trinity, the Blessed Mother, saints and demons. She received them over a period of 30 years and they comprise 12 books, still in publication today.

The devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary, with its accompanying promises, was a result of St. Bridget’s revelations. And it was to St. Bridget that the Lord Himself is said to have recommended St. Jude as an intercessor. “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself willing to help.”


But, as mothers, I imagine you are wondering about the prayer referenced in the first paragraph, right? It is a twelve-year novena. Yes, twelve years. I know, I said the same thing. I can barely get though a nine-day novena without forgetting! The prayers are meditations on seven aspects of the Lord’s Passion.

Here is how I decided to start the twelve-year prayers. First, these are the promises made to those who say them:

  1. The soul who prays them suffers no Purgatory.
  2. The soul who prays them will be accepted among the Martyrs, as though he had spilled his blood for his faith.
  3. The soul who prays them can choose three others whom Jesus will then keep in a state of grace sufficient to become holy.
  4. No one in the four successive generations of the soul who prays them will be lost.
  5. The soul who prays them will be made conscious of his death one month in advance.

These are lavish promises, are they not? But, I argued, this is not Divine Revelation. The Church does not assert their authenticity. OK. But St. Bridget is a canonized saint. Would the Holy Spirit lead the Church to canonize a woman whose revelations were false? Yes, while clearly holy, saints are not infallible. They are human. Yes.

But what if the Lord did say exactly these promises? The prayers take about ten minutes to say. What if I pass up an opportunity to receive these promises? And, I thought, meditations on the Passion of the Lord would never be wasted time. The prayers themselves are beneficial to say, regardless of the authenticity of the promises. So I started. I thought I might as well try.

That was two years ago. By God’s grace I have not missed a day. It’s a part of my daily prayer routine. If you miss a day for a valid reason, you can make it up. If you die before the twelve years are complete, according to St. Bridget, the Lord will consider them as having been prayed in their entirety.

If you’d like to know more about St. Bridget of Sweden, you can read what Pope Benedict said of her in a papal audience

St. John Paul II also spoke of her when he made her Co-Patroness of Europe together with Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

The Twelve Year Prayers of St. Bridget are available online. But if you’re like me and prefer to see their physical presence on your table as a reminder, this folded card is available from the Dupage Marian Center. 

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St. Bridget, please pray for us and for all mothers. May our children become saints as did your daughter,St. Catherine of Sweden.

How has God lavishly blessed your life?

Meditations on the Passion of the Lord would never be wasted time. Pray the St. Bridget novena. #catholicmom

Copyright 2020 Rosemary Bogdan
Images (top to bottom): Mary's Rosaries (Public Domain); copyright 2020 Rosemary Bogdan. All rights reserved.