St. Brigid and Anamchara: Love, Loyalty, and Friendship

St. Brigid and Anamchara (Love, Loyalty, and Friendship) – By Daniel Sheridan

It is St. Brigid’s Day in Ireland. Who was she?

Brigid was a goddess worshiped in ancient Ireland. A Gaelic chieftain named his daughter in her honor. She converted to Christianity, and a legend claims Saint Patrick himself led her to Christ. After her conversion, Brigid and her followers, in the language of McCourt, “doused the perpetual light of the goddess and lit a new one in honor of Christ.”

Brigid and her friends became the first society of Christian women in Ireland. Her generosity was legendary. Her care for the poor inspired others to imitate her. Brigid’s name became so famous, her character so admired, that she became the ideal of femininity, and men began calling their loved ones by her name – BRIDE.

Many believe that the concept of Anamchara originated with Brigid. “Anam” means soul, and “chara” means friend. It’s a concept that sprang from the Irish Monasteries of Patrick’s day, embracing men and women from all walks of life. Brigid of Kildare once said,

“Anyone without a soul-friend is like a body without a head.”

An Anamchara is a confessor, an advisor, a spiritual companion, and a compassionate presence. It is about coming together with one another in service to God and humanity.

My Aunt Bridie is named after Brigid. Just before her death, she said to me in her Irish brogue:

“What we need today is Christian virtue. I see friends my age paying seven to eleven thousand dollars per month just to stay alive in horrible homes! Where’s the family? Where is the Christian care? When I was a child in Ireland, my parents believed it was their duty to take care of anyone in the neighborhood who was sick. A neighbor took care of my grandmother. Every day she would come to change her sheets. Pride and comfort have replaced Christian love. Politics will never solve our problems, but love will. The true riches of a nation have nothing to do with its military or technology, but in how its people treat each other.”

Love, loyalty, and friendship are the greatest needs of our generation.

Illinois and the Thirteenth Amendment

Illinois and the Thirteenth Amendment – by Daniel Sheridan

#OTD, January 31, 1865, Americans made amends when Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment. The words of the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal,” are consistently applied.

I was sharing with my daughter the story of the Thirteenth Amendment since our home state played such a significant role in its passage.

Illinois instructed its Congressional delegation to vote for the Thirteenth Amendment. President Abraham Lincoln signed it on February 1, and then it went to the states for ratification. The amendment reads,

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull, a co-author of the amendment, telegraphed Illinois Governor Richard J. Oglesby moments after President Lincoln signed it, earnestly encouraging the legislature of the President’s home state to be the first to ratify. Lyman’s reason:

“It is just, it is constitutional, it is right to do so.”

By the end of that February day, Illinois became the first state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment. During that same session, the legislature repealed the horrible “Black Laws,” which had been in force since the state’s birth.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became part of our nation’s governing document on December 6, 1865. My little girl is proud of our home state, and so am I. I know you are, too.

“Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,

Can be writ the nation’s glory, Illinois, Illinois…”

Where are the Dead?

Three of the Riley Graves at Eyam, Derbyshire

Topics: The first lie in the Bible; the lie spreads to the ancient world and Christianity; why the lie denies the gospel; what do the Scriptures say about immortality?