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Daily Catholic Question

What is a green or white martyr?

In the book How the Irish Saved Civilization (Doubleday), Thomas Cahill talks about both green and white martyrdom. According to Cahill, Ireland was unique in that Christianity was introduced there without bloodshed (red martyrdom).

Cahill states that this lack of martyrdom disturbed the Irish, so they conceived first of a green martyrdom. Green martyrs left behind the comforts and pleasures of ordinary human society to live hermits' lives on mountaintops or lonely islands.

Against this background Cahill introduces Columcille ("Dove of God")—also called Columba or Crimthaann. Born in 521, a prince with a title to kingship, he chose to become a monk. Columba, with 12 relatives, founded a monastery on Iona off the coast of Scotland that became famous throughout Europe.

Monks from Iona in turn set out for what they called a white martyrdom: "[H]enceforth all who followed Columcille's lead were called to the white martyrdom, they who sailed into the white sky of morning, into the unknown, never to return."

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 2/25/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 2/27/2013


Bridget: From age seven on, Bridget had visions of Christ crucified. Her visions formed the basis for her activity—always with the emphasis on charity rather than spiritual favors. 
<p>She lived her married life in the court of the Swedish king Magnus II. Mother of eight children (the second eldest was St. Catherine of Sweden), she lived the strict life of a penitent after her husband’s death. </p><p>Bridget constantly strove to exert her good influence over Magnus; while never fully reforming, he did give her land and buildings to found a monastery for men and women. This group eventually expanded into an Order known as the Bridgetines (still in existence). </p><p>In 1350, a year of jubilee, Bridget braved a plague-stricken Europe to make a pilgrimage to Rome. Although she never returned to Sweden, her years in Rome were far from happy, being hounded by debts and by opposition to her work against Church abuses. </p><p>A final pilgrimage to the Holy Land, marred by shipwreck and the death of her son, Charles, eventually led to her death in 1373. In 1999, she, Saints Catherine of Siena (April 29) and Teresa Benedicts of the Cross (Edith Stein, August 9) were named co-patronesses of Europe.</p> American Catholic Blog Teaching by example forms a durable base from which to form character. It is the base, but alone it won’t raise the kind of person you want. Being a moral adult is fundamental to teaching children morals. But it is not sufficient, in and of itself.

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