It was not unknown historically, for Christian authorities to vest in their holy people many of the characteristics of the more ancient gods and goddesses beloved of the people.
There was such a goddess called Bridgit. Some authorities point to close connections: Proinsias McCana explains that her cult closely follows that of her predecessor. Note too, the correspondence between Geraldus Cambriensis’ description of a continuous fire burning at the pagan goddess’s shrine, and a fire temple, tended by twenty nuns of her community, at the monastery of S Bridgit.
The ancient goddess was associated with poetry, prophecy, learning, healing and thesmith. S Bridgit was patron of poets, healing and blacksmiths. Today, S Bridgit’s feasat day was also the pre-Christian feast of Imbolc and the beginning of the season of fertility and lactation.
The goddess Bridgit was associated with fertility: S Bridgit’s patronage of women in childbirth reflects this. She is also the patron of agriculture and cowhands: the reason the S Bridgit Cross (made of rushes) was always hung in Irish byres.
…. More later …