History of the Bridgettine Sisters
The Order of Our Saviour was founded by St. Birgitta of Sweden and approved by Pope Urban V in 1370. The Order’s first convent was in Vadstena by Lake Vätteren in Sweden, and this was the model for a number of Bridgettine Houses in Europe. In the 15th and 16th centuries, many Bridgettine convents were founded in Asia and America.
During the Reformation and later conflicts between church and state almost all these convents were dissolved.
In the course of the past hundred years a large number of Bridgettine convents have once again been founded by Mother Elisabeth Hesselblad. The desire was to re-introduce the order to the countries and places where it had previously existed, but now there are also many Bridgettine communities in India.
The Bridgettine Sisters started their apostolate in Trondheim in 1998. The new Bridgettine Convent was opened on 28th August 2009.
The Sisters’ ministry
According to the monastic tradition of St Birgitta’s Sisters, their chief obligation is liturgical prayer - the Daily Office. The sisters take part daily in the Mass, and there is Adoration of the Holy Sacrament of the Altar every day. Central to the Sisters’ work is the guesthouse, which is part of the activity of every Bridgettine convent. The Sisters welcome to their house all who seek to find stillness and quiet. In the Nordic countries the pilgrim tradition has in recent years come back into focus. The Sisters’ guesthouses may be an answer to the needs of pilgrims when they are at well-known places of pilgrimage, as in Trondheim, or when they are on their way there.
The Bridgettine Order has a special mission to bring forward the work of ecumenism, and that is why the Sisters like to receive visits from other churches or study-visits by school classes and other groups. The Sisters make arrangements for meetings and days of recollection. The Bridgettine Sisters are established in all the Nordic countries, except for Iceland. In all these countries there is a growing interest in ecumenical work.
The Sisters participate in the church’s missionary activity first and foremost through prayer, but also through active ministry. In close cooperation with the needs of the local church, the Sisters work in catechesis and other types of teaching, nursing, in kindergartens and they also offer accommodation to students and elderly persons.