Saint Bridget of Sweden’s Story
St. Bridget was born of the Swedish royal family, in 1304. In obedience to her father, she was married to Prince Ulpho of Sweden, and became the mother of eight children, one of whom, Catherine, is honored as a Saint. After some years she and her husband separated by mutual consent. He entered the Cistercian Order, and Bridget founded the Order of St. Saviour, in the Abbey of Wastein, in Sweden. In 1344 she became a widow, and thenceforth received a series of the most sublime revelations, all of which she scrupulously submitted to the judgment of her confessor. By the command of Our Lord, Bridget went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and amidst the very scenes of the Passion was further instructed in the sacred mysteries. She died in 1373.
(d. 1373, Rome, Italy) (Relics: Rome, Italy; Vadstena, Sweden)
Santa Brigida a Campo de' Fiori
(St Bridget at the Field of Flowers)
Piazza Farnese 96
*This church is at Piazza Farnese.
*Following the death of her husband, St Bridget of Sweden devoted herself completely to a life of prayer and service. After founding the Bridgettine Sisters in Sweden she felt compelled to visit Rome in order to seek official approval for her community. Her visit resulted in her permanently remaining in the city for the next twenty-four years until her passing in 1373. Today a few of her relics rest within this Bridgettine convent which still to this day is occupied by members of her community. Her body was returned to Sweden shortly after her death.
59230 Vadstena, Sweden
*Relics of St Bridget were transferred here as mentioned above. They rest within the chapel in the right transept.
(See pictures below)
Churches of Honor in Rome
San Lorenzo in Panisperna (St Lawrence in Panisperna)
Via Panisperna 90
*This church is west of the Basilica of St Mary Major. It is often closed during the week. However, it is always open for the faithful during Sunday liturgies.
*The second chapel on the left side of the nave is dedicated to St Bridget. Her body was originally buried in this chapel before being moved to Sweden. She used to beg for alms for the poor outside of this church and prayed before the crucifix by the main altar.
*This church also rests over the spot of St Lawrence’s martyrdom (d. 258). A chapel built under the porch marks where it occurred. Within this chapel is the oven that was used to roast St Lawrence alive.
Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls
Via Ostiense 186
*This church is south of the Aurelian Walls.
*In the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is a crucifix that is said to have spoken to St Bridget in 1370.
*St Paul is buried in the confessio. Above his tomb are the chains that were used to imprison him prior to his martyrdom. These chains were placed in this prominent location in 2008.
Semmeltarta – Swedish Cream Bun ‘Cake’
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp freshly ground cardamon
50g golden caster sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
50g unsalted butter, room temperature
300ml milk, lukewarm
7g dried instant yeast
1 large egg (plus 1 extra for glazing)
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
19g egg white
drop of almond extract *optional
Almond paste (see note)
2-3 tablespoon milk
600ml double/heavy cream
To make the dough place the flour in a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer add cardamom and salt on one side of the bowl, sugar and yeast on the other. Make a well in the flour mixture add butter and egg and pour in the milk. Mix to form a shaggy dough then knead for about 5 minutes (10 minutes by hand) or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a round, place into a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Set aside at room temperature for about an hour or until doubled in size. (in UK Winter mine took 1 hour and 30 minutes).
Whilst the dough is having it's first prove / rise make almond paste. Ideally using a food processor, mix together ground almonds, icing sugar and egg white until it forms a smooth ball similar to marzipan. Also whilst the dough is proving, line the bottom of a 24cm round loose-base cake pan and well butter the side..
After the dough has finished it's first prove - shape.Gently flatten dough with your hands into a disc, about the same size as your loose base tin. Place in tin then Cut into 8-10 pieces, make sure to cut all way through the dough i.e. not scoring. Cover and allow to prove for 45 mins-1 hour. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 200c/400f / Gas Mark 6. Brush the top of the bun 'cake' with egg wash - try to avoid dripping it down the sides or this will preventing it from rising well in the oven and it will stick to the side of the pan. Bake on the shelf just below the middle for 25-30 mins.
Once baked remove from oven and allow to cool in tin for 15 minutes then remove and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Re-Cut into 8-10 pieces then cut just the tops off the buns. Scoop out a hollow in the lower part of each bun.
Crumble the bun pieces into a bowl, grate in your almond paste and mix in a few tablespoons of milk to form a loose paste. Fill the hollow in each bun with the almond paste mixture. Whip the cream ideally until soft peaks then smoother over the buns, replace lids and dust with icing sugar.
For softer semlor use half strong bread flour and half plain / all-purpose flour. Can't eat raw egg? use 200g ready made shop-bought almond paste or marzipan. Storage - Keep refrigerated once filled and topped with whipped cream and consume within 3 days.
*Home-made Almond Paste – it’s different to marzipan, in that it’s softer, has the same amount of ground almonds as icing sugar and only uses egg white instead of whole egg. Ideally you would use a food processor to make your almond paste