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March 17, 2007

St. Patrick’s Day


So St. Patrick’s day is upon us and world wide there were be loads of people tipping green beer, wearing green and celebrating this day. But what exactly is the point of St. Patrick’s day? I figured it was time to explore my Irish roots (yes I’m a typical American, I have a little of this and that in me)

So this is what I’ve found out about this man and the holiday we celebrate…

From what little can be gleaned factually about St. Patrick, he wasn’t an Irish man, Patrick was born in Britain, probably in Wales, around 385 A.D. His father was a Roman official. When Patrick was 16, seafaring raiders captured him, carried him to Ireland, and sold him into slavery. The Christian Patrick spent six lonely years herding sheep and, according to him, praying 100 times a day. In a dream, God told him to escape. He returned home, where he had another vision in which the Irish people begged him to return and minister to them: “We ask thee, boy, come and walk among us once more,”. He studied for the priesthood in France and made his way back to Ireland. This information comes to us from the autobiographical Confession and a letter written to Crotoicus, who was a slave taking marauder.

He spent his last 30 years there, baptizing pagans, ordaining priests, and founding churches and monasteries. His persuasive powers must have been astounding: Ireland fully converted to Christianity within 200 years and was the only country in Europe to Christianize peacefully. Patrick’s Christian conversion ended slavery, human sacrifice, and most intertribal warfare in Ireland. (He did not banish the snakes: Ireland never had any. Scholars now consider snakes a metaphor for the serpent of paganism. Nor did he invent the Shamrock Trinity. That was an 18th-century fabrication.)

A good source of information regarding St. Patrick can be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

So as you tip a green beer and celebrate this St. Patrick’s day… remember there is always more to the holidays that we celebrate than meets the eye.

Kiss the Blarney stone for me!


Filed under: Life,Pursuit of Happiness by Kat at 10:48 am
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