After Birgitta´s death in Rome in 1373 her children Birger and Katarina
brought her remains home to Vadstena. There are many stories about miracles
that happened along the road. Blind people, who touched the coffin, could
see again, and lame could walk. In 1391, on 7 October, Birgitta´s day,
Birgitta was canonized. The Pope, Bonaficius IX, officiated the solemn
canonization and her name was written in the Golden book of saints. Outside,
all the bells of Rome were ringing. Birgitta is the only Swedish saint.
Her attributes are the pen, the ink bottle and the revelations. These
things are usually to be found on pictures showing Birgitta.
a Well Frequented Place for Pilgrims
The abbey of Vadstena quickly became a well frequented
place for pilgrims, because you could purchase indulgences. Indulgences
were documents which gave you absolution. If you were afraid to come to
hell for something you had done, you could buy indulgences and everything
would go back to normal. Also after the trade with indulgences had ceased
many pilgrims came to Vadstena to pray near Birgitta´s relics in
the abbey. The abbey was very popular. A lot of people wanted to be accepted
as monks and nuns. There was usually a long waiting list. The abbey of
Vadstena had great treasures and was benefactored by kings and queens
even to the age of the king Gustav Vasa. He changed religions in Sweden
and wanted to close all the abbeys. The abbey of Vadstena was officially
closed in 1595.
The coffin that took Birgitta
home from Rome in 1373 is placed in The King´s palace in Vadstena.