Kildare, an ancient church in central Ireland, founded A.D. 480, derived its name from the Irish celle, church, and dair, the oak, and was at first established by St. Bridget as a Christian school, and afterwards called a nunnery, for the purpose of teaching pagan women, married or single, the doctrines and duties of Christianity. Soon a town or city grew up around it, and in later times it formed an extensive diocese. In the early period of Ireland's history it is nothing remarkable to find woman assuming the position of public instructor; Druidism, the former religion of Ireland, assigned offices to females. In the early history of the Irish Church we have several intimations that Christian women were employed in its services. St. Patrick, in his Confession, sect. 18, writes about a woman of noble birth, of the daughters of the minor king, and even handmaids in servitude, who were active in the cause of Christianity. The Book of Armugh, an accredited manuscript of the 7th century, in speaking of an earlier period, says expressly, " The early Irish Christians did not reject the fellowship and help of woman, for they were founded on the rock, and did not fear the blast of temptation." St. Bridget, the founder of this church and female seminary, tradition says, died about A.1). 515, at an advanced age, loved in life and lamented in death. In honor of her memory, through an extent of fourteen centuries, in different countries and in different languages, millions have been called by her name; more children, perhaps, than after any other Christian woman whose name is not in the inspired records. Her memory was cherished by the Picts and the British Scots, but in no place except Kildare was it more honored than in the Hebrides, where at a later and less pure age she became the patroness of their churches. Several lives of her have been written by foreigners and in different languages, but the best and the fullest is said to be that by St. Ultan, the materials for which he obtained from a manuscript in the monastery of Ratisbon, Germany. See Moore, Hist. of Ireland; Ware's Irish Antiquities; Todd, Irish Church, p. 28. (D. D.)

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