Cill na Craoibhe Olóige/The Olive Branch is a group within Ord Brighideach which has a particular focus as part of its flame-keeping vigil to pray for peace, justice, and healing for those affected by war and conflict. The 8th century Bretha Crólige (a collection of legal material relating to medical provision) gives a list of 12 women excluded from the rule of nursing in Irish law (instead they are compensated by a fee being paid to their kin). One category is 'a woman who turns back the streams of war' and a gloss on this states 'such as the abbess of Kildare or the female aí bell teoir [lit. 'flame of the theoretical life' thus: contemplative, recluse, hermit], one who turns back the manifold sins of war through her prayers.' Whether or not this practice started in Brigit's time it was presumably one of the functions of the Abbess of Kildare during the years when the sacred flame was tended there.
Today as I close my flame-keeping vigil for Ord Brighideach International, I recite the prayer I wrote in 2011. Now, more than ever, we need to keep peace in our hearts, our minds and our intent.
Prayer for Peace
We ask for the light of your flame
To enable us to see clearly,
To illuminate the darkness,
To show us the shadows
Cast by our own light.
May the flame of your inspiration
Help us to express and comfort,
To understand and explain -
Encourage us and guide our actions.
We ask for the gift of your healing
To soften our pain,
And mend the wounds
We have inflicted on one another -
Bless us and make us whole.
May the fire of your forge
Enable us to shape our future
With courage and determination,
Using the flame of justice,
Tempered by compassion.
We ask for your protection
Against all that would harm us.
May the beacon of your flame
Show us a path to peace
That all may follow.
Rob fír/May it be true.