Eventually, with the help of other women who joined her work, Brigid built her abbey. The land she had chosen was the site near a large oak (rowan) tree near Kildare, the ancient site used for the worship of the pagan goddess Brigid and the location of her holy well and sacred fires.
Those in distress soon found their way to Saint Brigid's convent where they were comforted, healed, and fed. Her fame spread quickly.
Legends arose that she was the midwife at the birth of Jesus, baptizing the infant with three drops of water from her holy well, weaving his swaddling clothes from the wool of her ewes, and leading the holy family to Egypt when she foresaw the 'Slaughter of the Innocents'. One of St. Brigid's titles became 'The Foster Mother of Jesus'.
It was rumored that Brigid and her convent enjoyed the protection of the goddess Brigid, as one band of rogues learned to their displeasure. Thinking that stealing from a bunch of gentle women would be easy work indeed, they rustled the convent's herd of cattle in the middle of the night.
They hadn't gotten far when Brigid sense the cows were missing and, surmising what had happened, caused the water in the nearby stream to rise. The cattle balked at crossing the rapid waters.
Realizing the would have to get in the stream and lead the cattle across, the thieves took off their clothes to keep them dry and tied them in bundles on the cattle's horns. As the men stepped into the water, the cattle promptly turned and ran back to the convent.
Shortly thereafter the men showed up at the abbey, repentant and pleading for the return of their garments.
Brigid's compassionate nature is also clear in the story of an unfortunate woodcutter who had been sentenced to death for killing a wolf even though he had been unaware that it was tame and, more importantly, the pet of the king. Brigid set out at once to plead the poor man's case with the king.
As she rode through the woods a wolf jumped into her carriage. Sensing her love for all living things, the wild beast allowed her to pat his head and then laid down at her feet.
When they arrived, Brigid took the wolf with her into the interview with the king. "I've brought you another tame wolf," she said, "and I beg you to pardon the poor soul who unknowingly took the life of your other." And so the matter was settled to the satisfaction of all.