What am I to make of my recent vacation to Sweden, of my heritage, and of St. Birgitta’s role in my Catholic conversion? The trip was invigorating; knowing one’s heritage is a healthy aspect of self-understanding; reading St. Birgitta understandably piqued my interest in Catholicism; all reasonable explanations–or perhaps too superficial.
– How did I so happen to spend my last couple nights in Sweden on a farm given to Birgitta and her husband by her parents? My wife wasn’t aware of this when booking the airBnB.
– How intriguing that my Great…Grandfather, Johann Skytte, knighted by the King of Sweden in 1603, lies nearly across from St. Birgitta’s relics in the Cathedral of Uppsala. He figured prominently in the Protestant Revolt under King Gustavus Adolphus, confiscating the Bridgettine monastery, the Uppsala Cathedral, and all Roman Catholic property.
– My wife and I wouldn’t have considered this trip, had not my spring break coincided with my son’s break from the North American Pontifical College in Rome, who happened to have served in a Swedish parish the previous summer.
The mind likes to find patterns, and to form them even where none plausibly exist; which am I here engaged in? I do seriously suspect the former. Perhaps God so placed me to catch the ear of a few Swedes, beckoning them from their current post-modern malaise to their Roman Catholic heritage. Stopping shorter lands one in the truncated Christianity of Protestantism; aiming too far lands one in the abyss of Viking paganism. Swedes, check out your patron, St. Birgitta of Sweden!