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About The Catholic Church in Sweden:

One of the latest European countries to be evangelized, Catholicism arrived in the 9th century, brought here by monks.

For several hundred years after that, many convents and monasteries were built along with churches. Predominant among these was  the Gothic cathedral in Uppsala, which held the tomb of the martyred King Eric. Most notable perhaps was Bridget (or Birgitta) of Sweden (1303-1373) who was a wife, mother, visionary, and foundress of the Brigittine Order.

Under King Gustav I (1523-1560) victory in the Swedish War of Liberation against King Christian II of Denmark ended foreign domination over Sweden. Under Gustav the country severed ties to Rome and established the Swedish Church.  Following that, monasteries were closed, convents banned, and Sweden’s Catholic churches transformed into Lutheran ones, as Lutheranism became the official state religion.

In 1595 The Brigittines were officially expelled from the country and moved to Poland.

From 1617 until 1873, Swedes were forbidden to become Catholic.  Doing so meant expulsion from the country (I suppose that’s better than death that so many suffered from in England).

In the beautiful old city of Vadstena, where St. Bridget’s order was first established, the abbey church is now Lutheran (though admirably respectful of its link to this great Catholic saint.)

Her convent has been turned into a resort hotel. In a museum on the grounds, there are relics of St. Bridget and a great deal of fascinating details about the church in medieval Sweden.


Yet after centuries of banishment, the Brigittines are back in Vadstena, running a hostel not far from their historic convent. Mass is celebrated daily in a beautiful but simple chapel as tourists splash about in the lake nearby.