“Nothing is as strong as gentleness. Nothing is as gentle as real strength.”

Fortiter et Suaviter

Translated from the crest of the founder of the Congregation of St Brigid, Bishop Delany, Strength and Gentleness – the motto of our College – guides everyone at Brigidine.

For some, a motto might seem quaint and aspirational. Ours comes alive every day in countless ways. It is the basis of our caring community and is the guiding principal that will support our young women through life.

In today’s world when people hear the word gentle they can often automatically think: light, soft, vulnerable or weak. Even delicate or impressionable. Because being strong is so admired, some people think that gentle is the opposite of strong.

Gentle is far from it. Gentle is caring. Gentle is empathy. Gentle is compassion and kindness. Gentle is restraint. Gentleness is strength. It has the power to soothe pain, calm anger and bring peace.

It was the gentleness of Jesus that drew people to him. His ability to forgive and not judge. How could someone have such strength?

And when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. He came gentle, on the back of a donkey. Not grandstanding on a prized stallion.

At the same time strength is at the heart of Jesus Sermon on the Mount, where he preached to turn the other cheek, to love your enemies. In so many of his teachings he encouraged his followers to show great self-control and to show optimism in the face of adversity. He called on them to be strong.


Strength through gentleness and gentleness through strength is what grace is about.