The Parish Church of Saints Brigid and James the Greater
The Parish Church in Cassago
The Parish Church of Saints Brigid and James the Greaterá
The name of the Parish Church of the Commune did Cassago Brianza (Community of Cassago) gives some indication of the history of this church. At first, it seems surprising to find the name of an Irish cloistered non and saint of the fifth century. Most likely, the title reflects the time when Irish monks traveled through Europe evangelizing the inhabitants.
The title of St. James the Greater was added to that of St. Brigit sometime between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
In addition to the fact that Cassago Brianza has been placed under the patronage of St. Augustine, the church contains many signs of the town's connection with the bishop of Hippo, for example a large medallion with a figure of Augustine, the bishop, on the gate of the baptistery, statues of Saints Augustine, Monica and Ambrose, and a chapel dedicated to St. Augustine with two frescoes in the ceiling, one of Augustine with his family and friends engaged in a discussion at the villa of Verecundus and the other of Augustine and Alypius.
The church offers a good example of a typical parish church in the Italian countryside.
St. Brigid of Ireland
Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, Ireland. Her parents were baptized by St. Patrick, with whom she developed a close friendship. According to legend, her father was Dubhthach, an Irish chieftain of Lienster, and her mother, Brocca, was a slave at his court. Even as a young girl she evinced an interest for a religious life and took the veil in her youth from St. Macaille at Croghan and probably was professed by St. Mel of Armagh, who is believed to have conferred abbatial authority on her.
She settled with seven of her virgins at the foot of Croghan Hill for a time and about the year 468, followed Mel to Meath. About the year 470 she founded a double monastery at Cill-Dara (Kildare) and was Abbess of the convent, the first in Ireland.
The foundation developed into a center of learning and spirituality, and around it grew up the Cathedral city of Kildare. She founded a school of art at Kildare and its illuminated manuscripts became famous, notably the Book of Kildare, which was praised as one of the finest of all illuminated Irish manuscripts before its disappearance three centuries ago.
Brigid was one of the most remarkable women of her times, and despite the numerous legendary, extravagant, and even fantastic miracles attributed to her, there is no doubt that her extraordinary spirituality, boundless charity, and compassion for those in distress were real. She died at Kildare on February 1.
The Mary of the Gael, she is buried at Downpatrick with St. Columba and St. Patrick, with whom she is the patron of Ireland. Her name is sometimes Bridget and Bride.
Her feast day is February 1.