Also known as Birgitta. Widow; foundress of the Brigittines. Born c.1303 near Upsala, Sweden; died 23 July 1373 at Rome, Italy. Her parents were among the wealthiest landholders in the country and were renowned for their piety; Saint Ingrid was a near relative. In 1316 at the age of 13, she was married to Ulf Gudmarsson, by whom she had eight children, including Saint Catherine of Sweden. About 1320 she made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. After her husband’s death, Bridget devoted herself entirely to religion and asceticism; the heavenly visions she had had from early childhood became more frequent. She founded a religious order of nuns, called Brigittines, 1346, at Vadstena, Sweden; approval of the order was granted, 1370. In 1349 she journeyed to Rome and remained there until her death, except while absent on pilgrimages, the most important of which was to the Holy Land. She established a hospice for Swedish students and pilgrims at Rome, and played an important part in influencing Urban V to return to Rome from Avignon (1367). Patroness of Sweden. She is represented praying before a crucifix, holding an image of the Blessed Virgin. Canonized, 1391. Relics in the monastery at Vadstena. Feast, Roman Calendar, 8 October.