Contents Prayers of St. Bridget
The XV Oos

These fifteen prayers are known as the Prayers of St. Bridget or the Fifteen Oos. The prayers are attributed to St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), who was the foundress of the Brigittines (see entry in Catholic Encyclopedia). St. Bridget, however, did not write them. They were composed some time after her death, most likely in the 15th century by English mystics of the Brigittine order. Numerous editions of these prayers beloved by many have appeared over the centuries with considerable variation in the texts and even in the order of the prayers.

The prayers themselves are a very tender meditation on Christ's passion and death. They were quite popular during the late Middle Ages and were a frequent item in many a Medieval prayer book. The prayers serve a twofold purpose, a catechetical one and a penitential one. In narrating the sequence of events of Christ's passion and death, they serve as a short summary of the events as outlined in the Gospels. In this capacity they fulfill a basic catechetical function in teaching about Christ's passion and death. The second function of the prayers is to excite the reader to a greater sense of sorrow for his sins and to motivate him to a greater love of Jesus who suffered so much for our sake. In this capacity they fulfill a penitential role.

Sometime after their composition a list of promises unfortunately became attached to these prayers. Over the centuries these promises have varied in number, but 21 promises is the most common form these days. The usual claim is that these promises were revealed to St. Bridget when she was at St. Paul's in Rome. The promises list a series of rather incredible benefits for those who recite the prayers daily for a whole year, namely the release of the souls of one's relatives from purgatory and the conversion of one's descendants from sin. These promises were not given to St. Bridget nor do they have any ecclesiastical standing whatsoever.

It is regrettable that these promises are still published in prayer books these days. It really spoils the prayers by including what amounts to little more than superstition, not to mention being contrary to Church Law to do so. The Congregation of the Holy Office prohibited the publication of the promises since the promises have no merit to them. The following notice was given in the AAS XLVI (1954), 64:


In aliquibus locis divulgatum est opusculum quoddam, cui titulus "SECRETUM FELICITATIS - Quindecim orationes a Domino S. Birgittae in ecclesia S. Pauli, Romae, revelatae", Niceae ad Varum (et alibi), variis linguis editum.

Cum vero in eodem libello asseratur S. Birgittae quasdam promissiones a Deo fuisse factas, de quarum origine supernaturali nullo modo constat, caveant Ordinarii locorum ne licentiam concedant edendi vel denuo impremendi opuscula vel scripta quae praedictas promissiones continent.

Datum Romae, ex Aedibus S. Officii, die 28 Ianuarii 1954.
Marius Crovini, Supremae S. Congr. S. Officii Notarius

Acts of the Holy See
Congregation of the Holy Office

In some places, a certain little work has been disseminated called the "Secret of Happiness: 15 Prayers Revealed by the Lord to St. Bridget in the Church of St. Paul at Rome", published at Nice and various other places in several languages.

Since it is asserted in this pamphlet that God made to St. Bridget certain promises, whose supernatural origin in no way stands up, let local ordinaries take care not to grant permission for publishing or reprinting pamphlets or other writings which contain these aforementioned promises.

Given at Rome, from the offices of the Holy Office, 28 , January 1954
Marius Crovini, Notary of the Supreme Holy, Congregation of the Holy Office

Some recent publications of the promises have made various claims about past popes approving their publication, however, such claims are quite false. No authentic records of such approvals of the promises themselves exist.

In putting together the prayers below, it soon became apparent that matching a Latin version with a popular English translation of the prayers would be impossible. I have no fewer than five Latin texts and three English texts all dating from the 15th century to the 20th century and none of them match each other terribly well. While the underlying meaning of the prayers is much the same, the order of the prayers is different between the various editions. Moreover, there are a fair number of divergences between those editions in the actual wording of the texts. Quite a few phrases appear in one or more editions that do not appear in the other editions. It is fairly clear that publishers have heavily edited and emended them over time to the point where it is difficult, if not impossible, for me to determine exactly what the wording of the authentic "Prayers of St. Bridget" really is. So what I have done is taken the Latin as it is found in the 1670 edition of the Paradisus Animae Christianae by Jacob Merlo Horst. The Paradisus Animae Christianae was a popular prayer book of its time and was printed in many languages, including Latin. For the English, I started with a popular translation and heavily emended it in places to match the Latin from the Paradisus Animae Christianae.

Oratio Prima First Prayer
O IESU CHRISTE, aeterna dulcedo te amantium, iubilus excedens omne gaudium et omne desiderium, salus et amator peccatorum, qui delicias tuas testatus es esse cum filiis hominum, propter hominem homo factus es in fine temporum. Memento omnis praemeditationis et intimi moeroris quem in humano corpore sustinuisti instante saluberrimae Passionis tuae tempore in divino Corde praeordinato. O JESUS CHRIST! Eternal Sweetness to those who love Thee, joy surpassing all joy and all desire, Salvation and Hope of all sinners, Who hast proved that Thou hast no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men, recall all the sufferings Thou hast endured from the instant of Thy conception, and especially during Thy Passion, as it was decreed and ordained from all eternity in the Divine plan.
Memento tristitiae et amaritudinis, quam in anima, teipso testante, habuisti, quando in ultima cena Discipulis tuis Corpus et Sanguinem tuum tradidisti, pedes eorum lavisti, ac dulciter eos consolando, imminentem Passionem praedixisti. Remember the sadness and bitterness which Thou didst experience during the Last Supper with Thy disciples, having washed their feet, Thou gavest them Thy Most Precious Body and Blood, and while at the same time Thou didst sweetly console them, Thou didst foretell them Thy coming Passion.
Memento omnis tremoris, angustiae, et doloris, quem in tuo delicato corpore ante Passionem crucis tuae pertulisti, quando post trinam orationem et Sanguinem sudorem a Iuda tuo discipulo tradebaris, ab electa gente capiebaris, a falsis testibus accusabaris, a tribus iudicibus iniuste iudicabaris, in electa civitate, in Paschali tempore, in florida corporis iuventute innocenter damnabaris, veste propria exuebaris, et vestibus alienis induebaris, colaphizabaris, oculis et facie velabaris, alapis caedebaris, ad columnam ligabaris, flagellabaris, spinis coronabaris, arundine in capite feriebaris et innumerabilibus aliis calumniis lacerabaris. Remember all the fear, anguish and pain that Thou didst suffer in Thy delicate Body before the Passion of Thy Crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times bathed in a sweat of blood, Thou wast betrayed by Judas, Thy disciple, arrested by the chosen people, accused by false witnesses, unjustly judged by three judges in the chosen city during the Pascal season and in the flower of Thy youth, condemned, despoiled of Thy garments and clothed in strange garments, beaten, Thy Face and Eyes veiled, buffeted with blows, tied to a pillar, scourged, crowned with thorns, struck on the head with a reed, and wounded with innumerable other outrages.
Da Domine Deus mihi, quaeso, ob memoriam harum ante crucem tuam Passionum veram ante mortem meam Contritionem, puram Confessionem, dignam satisfactionem, ac omnium peccatorum remissionem. Amen. O Lord God, I beseech Thee, in memory of all these pains and sufferings which Thou didst endure before Thy Passion on the Cross, grant me before my death true contrition, a sincere and entire Confession, worthy satisfaction, and the remission of all my sins. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio secunda Second Prayer
O IESU, mundi fabricator, quem nulla dimensio vero in termino metitur, qui terram palmo concludis, recordare amarissimi doloris tui quem sustinebas cum Iudaei sanctissimas manus tuas ad crucem obtusis clavis primo afflixerunt, et ad perforandum delicatissimos pedes tuos, cum non esses conveniens voluntati eorum, dolorem super dolorem vulneribus tuis addiderunt, et sic te crudeliter distraxerunt et extenderunt in longum et latum crucis tuae, ut dissolverentur compages membrorum tuorum. O JESUS! Creator of Heaven and earth Whom nothing can encompass or limit, Thou Who dost hold the earth in the palm of Thy hand, remember the very bitter pain Thou didst suffer when the Jews nailed Thy Sacred Hands to the Cross with the first blunt nail, and perforated Thy delicate Feet, and not finding Thee in a pitiable enough state to satisfy their rage, they enlarged Thy Wounds, and added pain to pain, and with indescribable cruelty stretched Thy Body on the Cross, pulled Thee from all sides, thus dislocating Thy Limbs.
Deprecor te per huiusmodi sacratissimi et amarissimi in cruce doloris memoriam ut des mihi timorem et amorem tuum. Amen. I beg of Thee, by the memory of Thy most sacred suffering on the Cross, to grant me the grace to fear Thee and to love Thee. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio tertia Third Prayer
O IESU, caelestis medice, recordare languoris, livoris, et doloris, quos in alto crucis patibulo levatus, passus es in omnibus dilaceratis membris tuis, quorum nullum in statu recte permanserat, ita ut nullus dolor similis tuo dolori inveniretur, quia a planta pedis usque ad verticem capitis non fuit in te sanitas, et tamen omnium doloris immemor, Patrem pro inimicis pie exorasti, dicens: <<Pater, ignosce illis, quia nesciunt quod faciunt.>> O JESUS! Heavenly Physician, raised aloft on the Cross to heal our wounds with Thine, remember the bruises which Thou didst suffer and the weakness of all Thy Members which were distended to such a degree that never was there pain like unto Thine. From the crown of Thy Head to the Soles of Thy Feet there was not one spot on Thy Body that was sound, and yet, forgetting all Thy sufferings, Thou didst not cease to pray to Thy Heavenly Father for Thy enemies, saying: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
Per hanc misericordiam et ob memoriam illius doloris, concede, ut haec memoria Passionis tuae amarissimae sit omnium peccatorum meorum plena remissio. Amen. Through this great Mercy, and in memory of this suffering, grant that the remembrance of Thy Most Bitter Passion may effect in me a perfect contrition and the remission of all my sins. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio quarta Fourth Prayer
O IESU, vera libertas angelorum, paradisus deliciarum, memento moeroris et horroris quos sustinebas cum omnes inimici tui quasi leones ferocissimi te circumsteterunt et colaphizationibus, conspuitionibus, ungulationibus, ceterisque poenis inauditis te molestaverunt. O JESUS! True liberty of angels, Paradise of delights, remember the horror and sadness which Thou didst endure when Thy enemies, like furious lions, surrounded Thee, and tormented Thee with insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard-of-cruelties.
Per has poenas et per omnia contumeliosa verba, durissimaque tormenta, quibus te Domine Iesu Christe, omnes inimici afflixerunt, deprecor te ut liberes me ab omnibus inimicis meis visibilibus et invisibilibus[1], et dones me sub umbra alarum tuarum ad perfectionem salutis aeternae pervenire. Amen. In mind of these punishments, spiteful words and harsh torments, which Thine enemies afflicted upon Thee, I beseech Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver me from all my enemies visible and invisible, and to bring me under Thy protection to the perfection of eternal salvation. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio quinta Fifth Prayer
O IESU, speculum claritatis[2] aeternae, memento illius moeroris quem habuisti quando in speculo serenissimae maiestatis tuae conspexisti praedestinationem electorum tuorum per merita tuae Passionis salvandorum et reprobationem malorum per sua demerita damnandorum, et per abyssum miserationis tuae, qua nobis perditis peccatoribus et desperatis tunc condoluisti, et quam latroni in cruce exhibuisti dicens. << Hodie mecum eris in Paradiso.>> Rogo te pie Iesu [ut] facias mecum misericordiam in hora mortis meae. Amen. O JESUS! Mirror of eternal splendor, be mindful of the sadness which Thou experienced when Thou beheldst in the mirror of Thy clear majesty the predestination of those who would be saved by the merits of Thy saving Passion and the great multitude of reprobates who would be damned for their sins. And be mindful of the depths of Thy great mercy which Thou hadst for us lost and desperate sinners, and which Thou displayed to the good thief when Thou saidst to him: "This day, thou shalt be with Me in Paradise." I beg of Thee, oh Sweet Jesus, that Thou wilt show me mercy at the hour of my death. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio sexta Sixth Prayer
O REX amabilis et amice totus desiderabilis, memento illius moeroris, quem habuisti quando nudus et miserabilis in cruce pependisti, et omnes amici et noti tui adversus te steterunt, et nullum consolantem inveniebas, nisi solum dilectam Genetricem tuam in amaritudine animae suae tibi fidelissimae astantem, quam Discipulo tuo commendasti, dicens, <<Mulier, ecce filius tuus.>> O JESUS! Beloved and most desirable King, remember the grief Thou didst suffer, when naked and miserable Thou didst hang upon the Cross, and when all Thy relatives and friends abandoned Thee and Thou didst not find any consolation, except in Thy Beloved Mother, who didst remain loyal to Thee during Thy agony and whom Thou didst entrust to Thy disciple when Thou saidst: "Woman, behold Thy Son!"
Rogo te, piissime Iesu, per gladium doloris, qui tunc eius animam pertransivit, ut compatiaris mihi in omnibus tribulationibus et afflictionibus meis corporalibus et spiritualibus, et da mihi consolationem in tempore tribulationis, et in hora mortis meae. Amen. I beg of Thee, O most sweet Jesus, by the sword of sorrow which pierced the soul of Thy holy Mother, to have compassion on me in all my afflictions and tribulations, both corporal and spiritual, and to grant me consolation in all my trials, and especially at the hour of my death. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio septima Seventh Prayer
O IESU, fons inexhaustae pietatis, qui ex intimo dilectionis affectu in cruce dixisti: <<Sitio.>>, scilicet salutem generis humani, accende, quaeso, cordium nostrorum desideria ad omne opus perfectum, et sitim carnalis concupiscentiae, aestum mundanae delectationis in nobis penitus refrigera et exstingue. Amen. O JESUS! Inexhaustible font of compassion, Who by a profound gesture of Love, said from the Cross: "I thirst!" and suffered from the thirst for the salvation of the human race, I beseech Thee, inflame in our hearts the desire to tend toward perfection in all our acts; and to extinguish in us the concupiscence of the flesh and the ardor of worldly desires. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio octava Eighth Prayer
O IESU, dulcedo cordium, ingensque suavitas mentium, per amaritudinem aceti et fellis, quam pro nobis degustasti, in hora mortis nostrae, concede nobis Corpus et Sanguinem tuum digne percipere ad remedium et consolationem animarum nostrarum. Amen. O JESUS! Sweetness of hearts, delight of the spirit, by the bitterness of vinegar and gall which Thou didst taste for us, grant us the grace to receive worthily Thy Precious Body and Blood at the hour of our death for the remedy and consolation for our souls. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio nona Ninth Prayer
O IESU, regalis virtus, iubilusque mentalis, memento angustiae et doloris quem passus es, quando prae mortis amaritudine et Iudaeorum insultatione cum magna voce te a Deo Patre derelictum clamasti, dicens : <<Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti me?>> Per hanc angustiam peto a te, ut in angustiis nostris non derelinquas nos, Domine Deus noster. Amen. O JESUS! Royal virtue, joy of the mind, recall the anguish and sorrow Thou didst endure at the approach of death, when filled with bitterness, insulted, and outraged by the Jews, Thou didst cry out in a loud voice that Thou wert abandoned by Thy Father, saying: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" By this anguish, I beg of Thee, not to abandon us in our anguish, O Lord God. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio decima Tenth Prayer
O IESU, Alpha et Omega, vita et virtus in omni tempore, recordare, quod a summo capite usque ad plantam pedis te pro nobis in aqua Passionis demersisti. O JESUS! Who art the beginning and end of all things, life and strength for all time, remember that for our sakes Thou was plunged into the waters of Thy Passion from the soles of Thy Feet to the crown of Thy Head.
Propter latitudinem et longitudinem vulnerum tuorum, doce me, per veram caritatem, custodire latum mandatum tuum, nimis peccatis demersum. Amen. In consideration of the length and breadth of Thy Wounds, teach me, who art drowned in sin, to keep through pure love Thy Commandments, whose way is wide and easy for those who love Thee. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio undecima Eleventh Prayer
O IESU, abyssus profundissima misericordiae, rogo te propter profunditatem vulnerum tuorum, quae pertransierunt medullam ossium ac viscerum tuorum, ut me submersum in peccatis emergas, abscondasque me in foraminibus vulnerum tuorum a facie irae tuae, donec pertranseat furor tuus, Domine. Amen. O JESUS! Deep abyss of mercy, I beg of Thee, on account of the depths of Thy Wounds which penetrated to the very marrow of Thy Bones and Thy being, draw me, who is immersed in sin, out of my sins and to hide me in Thy Wounds away from the face of Thy wrath until Thy anger shall have passed. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio duodecima Twelfth Prayer
O IESU, veritatis speculum, signum unitatis, caritatisque vinculum, memento multitudinis innumerabilium vulnerum tuorum, quibus a summo capitis usque ad imum pedis vulneratus fuisti, et sanctissimo Sanguine tuo rubricatus, quam magnitudinem doloris in virginea carne tua pertulisti pro nobis! Pie Iesu quid ultra debuisti facere et non fecisti? O JESUS! Mirror of Truth, symbol of unity, bond of Charity, remember the innumerable multitude of wounds with which Thou was covered from head to foot, torn and reddened by the spilling of Thy most holy Blood, how great the sorrows which Thou didst suffer in Thy virginal Flesh for us! Sweetest Jesus, what more is there that Thou couldst have done for us which Thou hast not done?
Scribe, quaeso, o pie Iesu, omnia vulnera tua in corde meo pretiosissimo Sanguine tuo, ut in illis legam dolorem tuum et mortem, ut in gratiarum actione usque in finem iugiter perseverem. Amen. Inscribe, I beseech Thee, sweet Jesus, all Thy wounds upon my heart with Thy most precious Blood so that I may read in them Thy sorrows and death and continually persevere in thanksgiving until the end.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio decima tertia Thirteenth Prayer
O IESU, leo fortissime, Rex immortalis et invictissime : memento doloris quem passus es cum omnes vires cordis et corporis tui penitus defecerunt et inclinato capite, <<Consummatum est,>> dixisti. O JESUS! Strong Lion, Immortal and Invincible King, remember the pain which Thou didst endure when all Thy strength, both moral and physical, was entirely exhausted, Thou didst bow Thy Head, saying: "It is done!"
Per hanc angustiam et dolorem miserere mei cum anima mea in ultima consummatione exitus spiritus mei anxiata fuerit et conturbata. Amen. Through this anguish and grief, I beg of Thee Lord Jesus, to have mercy on me at the hour of my death when my mind will be greatly troubled and my soul will be in anguish. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio decima quarta Fourteenth Prayer
O IESU, unigenite altissimi Patris, splendor et figura substantiae eius, memento obnixae commendationis, qua Patri spiritum commendasti, dicens : <<In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.>> Et lacerato corpore, rupto corde cum valido clamore, patefactis visceribus misericordiae tuae pro nobis redimendis, expirasti. O JESUS! Only begotten Son of the Father, splendor and figure of His Substance, remember the commendation Thou didst make of Thy Spirit to Thy Father, saying: "Into Thy Hands, O Lord, I commend My Spirit!" And with Thy Body all torn, Thy Heart broken, and the depths of Thy Mercy open to redeem us, Thou didst expire.
Per hanc pretiosissimam mortem precor te, Rex sanctorum, conforta me ad resistendum diabolo, mundo, carni et sanguini, ut mundo mortuus tibi vivam, et in novissima hora exitus mei suscipe ad te revertentem spiritum meum exulem et peregrinum. Amen. By this most precious death, I beg of Thee, King of Saints, comfort me and help me to resist the devil, the world, flesh and blood, so that being dead to the world I may live for Thee alone. I beg of Thee at the hour of my death to receive me, a pilgrim and an exile returning to Thee. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Oratio decima quinta Fifteenth Prayer
O IESU, vitis vera et fecunda, memento supereffluentis et abundantis effusionis Sanguinis tui, quem tu sicut de botro expressum copiosissime effudisti, quando in cruce torcular solus calcasti, et lancea militari perfosso latere nobis sanguinem et aquam propinasti, ita ut nec minima gutta in te remaneret, et demum quasi myrrhae fasciculus in altum suspensus fuisti, et delicata caro tua evanuit, et liquor viscerum tuorum exaruit, et medulla ossium tuorum emarcuit. O JESUS! True and fruitful Vine! Be mindful of the overflowing and abundant outpouring of Thy Blood which Thou didst pour forth copiously, like wine pressed from grapes, when upon the wine press of the Cross Thou didst tread alone (Isa. 63:3), and when Thy side was pierced with a soldier's lance, thou didst give us blood and water to drink which issued forth until there was not left in Thy Body a single drop. Then at last, like a bundle of myrrh lifted to the top of the Cross ,Thy delicate Flesh was destroyed, the very Substance of Thy Body withered, and the Marrow of Thy Bones dried up.
Per hanc amarissimam passionem tuam et pretiosi Sanguinis effusionem, pie Iesu, precor te, suscipe animam meam in agone mortis meae. Amen. Through Thy most bitter Passion and though the outpouring of Thy Precious Blood, I beg of Thee, oh Sweet Jesus, to receive my soul in the agony of my death. Amen.
Pater noster. Ave, Maria. Our Father. Hail Mary.
Conclusio Conclusion
O DOMINE IESU CHRISTE, Fili Dei vivi, suscipe hanc orationem in amore illo superexcellenti, in quo omnia vulnera tui sanctissimi Corporis sustinuisti, et miserere mei famuli tui, et omnibus peccatoribus, cunctisque fidelibus tam vivis quam defunctis da misericordiam, gratiam, remissionem et vitam aeternam. Amen. O LORD JESUS CHRIST, Son of the living God, accept this prayer in that excellent love of Thine in which Thou sustained all Thy wounds in Thy most holy Body and have mercy upon me, Thy servant, upon all sinners, and upon all the faithful, whether living or dead. Grant mercy, grace, remission and eternal life. Amen.

1 The usual phrase is "visible and invisible". The word "invisibilibus" was omitted in the 1670 edition, but is testified to in all the other editions consulted.
2 The 1670 edition has the word "charitatis", but this must be an error. All the other editions show "claritas", which makes better sense.

<- Prev

©copyrighted by Michael Martin