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If you’re anything like most Catholics, you’ve got some experience with novenas, or have at least heard of them. They are nine-day series of prayers offered to saints or to Jesus, and are a popular way among Catholics to ask for some grace, or some help with a vexing problem.

But most Catholics — or at least the Catholics at The Pillar — know it’s usually easier to start a novena than to see it through for nine days. Now imagine praying one for 12 years. Meet St. Bridget of Sweden’s 12 Year Prayers.

A depiction of St. Bridget of Sweden on an altarpiece in Salem church, Södermanland, Sweden. Public domain.


July 23 marks the feast of St. Bridget of Sweden, a 14th century mystic, widow, and religious sister. Bridget and her husband had eight children. After her husband’s death, Bridget founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior and lived the remainder of her life as a nun.

Throughout her life, Bridget experienced visions of Jesus, Mary, and various saints. Many of the visions involved the sufferings of Christ, and their contents were published following her death. It is piously believed that among the revelations received by St. Bridget was the 12 Year Prayers devotion. 

The devotion consists of a series of prayers honoring the seven times Christ spilled his blood for the world - the circumcision, the agony in the garden, the scourging at the pillar, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross, the crucifixion, and the piercing of Christ’s side.

Christ himself is believed to have appeared to St. Bridget to teach her the prayers, as a special way to honor his sufferings, and to offer five promises to those who would pray them daily for 12 years. 

The promises include:

1)  The soul who prays them suffers no purgatory.

2)  The soul who prays them will be accepted among the Martyrs as though he had spilled his blood for his faith.

3)  The soul who prays them can choose three others whom Jesus will then keep in a state of grace sufficient to become holy.

4)  No-one in the four successive generations of the soul who prays them will be lost.

5)  The soul who prays them will be made conscious of his death one month in advance.

You can find the 12 Year Prayers here.

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