Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is an expression saying, "No-one is a prophet in his own country". But from now on Saint Birgitta will be a wonderful exception to the rule.
Saint Birgitta was born 700 years ago, and already during her lifetime she became well known abroad. She is the most well documented Swedish personality from the middle Ages. Her double identity, Swedish as well as European, has given her a new platform and a sort of revival in history. In 1999 Pope John Paul II proclaimed Saint Birgitta as one of Europe's three female patron saints.
In Sweden, however Saint Birgitta has been more anonymous for a long time. But while our interest in history is growing and the Year of Saint Birgitta is proceeding she becomes a clearly visible and fascinating personality to many Swedes that hear and read about her.
The Year of Saint Birgitta is a historic event focusing on spreading information and knowledge about the impact of her personality and her work. Today her ideas are practised at more convents than ever, in Europe, America and Asia.
Today Saint Birgitta will find a new home in Sweden as well. It is situated here in her old abbey in Vadstena. The Birgitta Foundation has taken the initiative to create this new museum. Its aim is to explain her times and mission to visitors in our time.
But without strong support from many authorities, institutions, foundations and individuals this project could not have been realized. Today, we thank all of you who have contributed to make this dream come true, a dream that again gives Saint Birgitta a home in her native country.
I hope that this home will offer quietness to all its visitors and a chance to think and reflect not only about Saint Birgitta and all her work but also about the inner meaning of their own lives. We all need to do so once in a while.
With these words I am proud to open Sancta Birgitta Abbey Museum.