Saint Patrick! Who is he and what did he do in order to get a day in American life named after him? Well in this post I hope to answer that questions along with 5 interesting facts that maybe you didn’t know.
Saint Patrick was born in Roman -Britain circa. He was born to Calpurnius his father and his mother Conchessa in 386 A.D.
His birth name was said to be Maewyn Succat but this name has not been verified by historians according to Biography.com.
Patrick was captured by Irish pirate when he was 16yrs old. He was sold into slavery in Dalriada. His job there was to tend to the sheep.
Milchu who was Patrick’s slave master was also a high priest in Druidism. Druid is a pagan sect that held major religious influence over Ireland during this time period.
At the time of his capture Patrick was not a Christian even though his father was a deacon in a Catholic church. He states that he was not a Christian in his book “Confession”.
It wasn’t till he was captured that he turned to Christ and became “devoted to Christianity through constant prayer.”
Through those prayers he “saw the children of pagan Ireland reaching out their hands to him and grew increasingly determined to convert the the Irish to Christianity.”
After dreaming of escaping enslavement in 408 A.D. a voice promised him he would find his way back home to England. Patrick somehow convinced some sailors to allow him to board their ship.
The journey to back home was a terrible one, after a 3 days journey Patrick and the sailors abandoned ship in France where they wandered lost for 200 miles over 28 days.
However, in that journey his was reunited with his family. After being reunited with his family Patrick went Auxerre, France where “he studied and entered the priesthood under the guidance of the missionary St. Germain.
Patrick also became a ordained Deacon by Bishop of Auxerre around 418 A.D.
The Missionary Work Of Saint Patrick
After many years of training and studying Patrick never forgot his mission to return to the people of Ireland. “Upon his arrival in Ireland, Patrick was initially met with resistance, but managed to spread Christian teaching far and wide, along with other missionaries, through preaching, writing and performing countless baptism.”
Saint Patrick also said he:
“He ordained priests to lead the new Christian communities. He converted wealthy women, some of whom became nuns in the face of family opposition. He also dealt with the sons of kings, converting them too.
The Confessio is generally vague about the details of his work in Ireland, though giving some specific instances. This is partly because, as he says at points, he was writing for a local audience of Christians who knew him and his work.
There are several mentions of travelling around the island, and of sometimes difficult interactions with the chiefly elite. He does claim of the Irish:
Never before did they know of God except to serve idols and unclean things. But now, they have become the people of the Lord, and are called children of God. The sons and daughters of the leaders of the Irish are seen to be monks and virgins of Christ!” (Saint Patrick)
Patrick Uses a Shamrock to Teach the Trinity
Legend has it that Patrick was teaching the people about the Holy Trinity by showing the people a shamrock. It’s a three leafed plant better know as the clover here in America. Patrick used the Shamrock illustrating the Christian teaching of the “three persons in one God.”
Patrick Accredited With Banishing The All Snakes from Ireland
Legend says that Patrick chased the snakes into the sea “after they attacked him during a 40-day fast.”
However, scientist say that there never were any snakes in Ireland because there is no evidence that “post-glacial Ireland never had snakes” this is according to Nigle Monaghan.
“Patrick’s Walking Stick Grows Into A Living Tree”
Some if the legends say that during Patrick’s evangelistic journey back to Ireland from his parent’s house he walked with a stick made of ash wood.
It’s said that he thrust the stick in the ground wherever he was preaching at the time. Legend says that by the time that he finished evangelizing and was ready to leave the that walking stick started to take root. However, there is of course no evidence to support this legend.
Saint Patrick’s Crosses
There are two main crosses associated with Patrick, one is the cross “pattee” and the second one is the “Saltire.”
The pattee is the more know cross is the more traditional one, but the church associates more with saltire cross that dates back to 1783 and the “Order of St. Patrick.”
(to read more about the crosses visit this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick)
Saint Patrick’s Bell
Patrick’s bell was first mentioned in the book “Annals of Ulster” in the year 552. The bell was a collection of the “relics of Patrick” from which the bell was removed from his tomb nearly sixty years after Patrick’s death.
“The bell itself is simple in design, hammered into shape with a small handle fixed to the top with rivets. Originally forged from iron, it has since been coated in bronze. The shrine is inscribed with three names, including King Domnall Ua Lochlainn’s.
The rear of the shrine, not intended to be seen, is decorated with crosses while the handle is decorated with, among other work, Celtic designs of birds.
The bell is accredited with working a miracle in 1044 and having been coated in bronze to shield it from human eyes, for which it would be too holy. It measures 12.5 × 10 cm at the base, 12.8 × 4 cm at the shoulder, 16.5 cm from base to shoulder, 3.3 cm from shoulder to top of handle and weighs 1.7 kg.”
Modern Day Remembrance
It is believed that this March 17th is the day that Saint Patrick passed away and the date celebrated as his “Feast Day.”
This day falls within the “Christian season of Lent.” Saint Patrick’s Day has been celebrated for over a 1,000 years and the Irish observe it as a religious holiday.
Traditionally though Saint Patrick’s day is when families go to church in the morning and participate in the rituals, such as eating a meal of cabbage and Irish bacon.
However, here in America it is celebrated with decorations in home and in schools and some public places. It is also celebrated with parties of eating sweets and some traditional food.
But the most tragic of all the offenses in how it is celebrated here is the drinking of alcohol.
Like many other “holy” days here in America the secular world has made these days into days of drunkenness. The secular world has changed the meaning of these “holy days.”
So instead of partying take some time to reflect on what Saint Patrick did for the people of Ireland and the world.
Saint Patrick’s early life reminds me of : “Genesis 50:20 New International Version (NIV)
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
This is when Joseph was reassuring his brothers that tho they had intended to harm him God meant it for good. Just as the pirates meant to harm Patrick, God meant it for good so that he, Patrick would go back to Ireland and evangelize the children and adults.
So remember this day for what it is celebrating the life of Saint Patrick and for him evangelizing Ireland for God’s purpose.
references: https://www.biography.com/people/st-patrick-9434729; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick
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