Anglicized form of Gaelic Brighid (pronounced ‘breed’);. This was the name of an ancient Celtic goddess, which in Gaulish would have been Brigindos, meaning ‘the exalted one’. St Brigid of Kildare (c.450–c.525) is one of the patron saints of Ireland. Very few facts are known about her life. She founded a religious house for women at Kildare, and is said to be have been buried at Downpatrick, where St Patrick and St Columba were also buried. Many of the stories of miracles told about St Brigid seem to be Christianized versions of pagan legends concerning the goddess. The popularity of the name was further reinforced throughout Europe, especially in Scandinavia in the form Birgit, as the name of the patron saint of Sweden (1304–73). She was a noblewoman of Irish stock who, after the death of her husband, founded an order of nuns, the Bridgettines. Later she went to Rome and attempted to introduce religious reforms there.