Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's St. Paddy's Day

St Patrick is known as the patron saint of Ireland. He was not born in Ireland. But he has become an integral part of the Irish heritage, mostly through his service across Ireland of the 5th century.

Patrick was born in the later half of the 4th century AD. There are differing views about the exact year and place of his birth. According to one school of opinion, he was born about 390 A.D., while the other school says it is about 373 AD. Again, his birth place is said to be in either Scotland or Roman England. His real name was probably Maewyn Succat. Though Patricius was his Romanicized name, he was later came to be familiar as Patrick.

Patrick was the son of Calpurnius, a Roman-British army officer. He was growing up as naturally as other kids in Britain. However, one day a band of pirates landed in south Wales and kidnapped this boy along with many others. Then they sold him into slavery in Ireland. He was there for 6 years, mostly imprisoned. This was when changes came to him. He dreamed of having seen God. Legend says, he was then dictated by God to escape with a getaway ship.

Finally, he did escape and went to Britain. And then to France. There he joined a monastery and studied under St. Germain, the bishop of Auxerre. He spent around 12 years in training. And when he became a bishop he dreamed that the Irish were calling him back to Ireland to tell them about God. The Confessio, Patrick's spiritual  autobiography, is the most important document regarding this. It tells of a dream after his return to Britain, in which one Victoricus delivered him a letter headed "The Voice of the Irish."

So he set out for Ireland with the Pope's blessings. There he converted the Gaelic Irish, who were then mostly Pagans, to Christianity. He was confident in the Lord, he journeyed far and wide, baptizing and confirming with untiring zeal. And, in a diplomatic fashion he brought gifts to a kinglet here and a lawgiver there,but accepted none from any.

Indeed, Patrick was quite successful at winning converts. Through active preaching, he made important converts even among the royal families. And this fact upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times,but escaped each time. For 20 years he had traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion. He developed a native clergy, fostered the growth of monasticism, established dioceses, and held church councils.

He died on March 17, AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's ever since. Though originally a Catholic holy day, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into more of a secular holiday. Or, rather, 'be an Irish Day '. And the Irish has borne it as part of their national tradition in everywhere they populated and prospered. The Catholic feast day for this most loved of Irish saints has become a holiday in celebration of the Irish and Irish culture.

Even though I am of Irish heritage, and today we feast on corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, Irish soda bread, and lots of other delicious foods (recipes sent down through the generations) I know that on this day, people from all over the world want to be Irish. And I still love hearing the story of this great man every year.

Happy St. Paddy's Day.


  1. Wishes for a bright and beautiful St. Patrick's Day!

  2. Thank you for sharing that bit of knowledge!!! My sister was born today so we get to have two fun celebrations! Happy St. Patricks Day!

  3. Yep, even the tiny island of Montserrat in the Caribbean (doing battle with a volcano) celebrates St. Patrick's Day.

  4. Okay, even though you're supposed to be unplugged, I'll allow you this one post . . . in honor of my Celtic heritage!

    Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day, my friend.

  5. Erin go braugh!! Off to another book signing--y'all should all write an Irish book. It opens the door to the most fun things!


  6. I'm so glad you posted this today! From one Irish girl to another, Happy St. Patrick's Day! :-)

  7. Such a pleasure to see you blogging today. May your day be filled with cheer!

  8. Thanks for putting this up, Robyn. I love hearing the origins of holidays.
    St. Patrick's day is special for our family because it's my younger brother's birthday (his middle name is Patrick ;).
    We do like to have fun with all the Irish stuff, but it's really important to remember these holidays were meant to bring glory to God and remember his servants. :)
    Have a great day!

  9. This was really interesting to read, Robyn. I have Irish roots- my Nan was Irish- but i have never celebrated St Patrick's Day. Saying that, i've never celebrated St George's Day and i'm English born and bred! Just one of those things i guess.

    Happy St Paddy's Day to you. Hope all is well. :)

  10. Lá Fhéile Phádraig Shona Dhuit" to You!

    May the Irish hills caress you.
    May her lakes and rivers bless you.
    May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
    May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

  11. Wow! Thanks for the insight! Other than wearing green, I've never really thought about it.

  12. Hope you had a good St. Patrick's Day!

  13. I have TWO more awards waiting for you at my blog, bestest buddy! :-)

  14. Thanks for sharing St. Patrick's story with us. I always think of the holiday as a good reason to eat Lucky Charms cereal. That's bad, isn't it? :) Have a great weekend!

  15. Wow! This is some great information. I didn't know most of this. its so interesting. St. Patrick's Day will certainly be different for me, from now on. I only knew a tiny part of what you shared. Thank you.

    Come join us for a drawing. Three books to be given away. Sometimes, being a follower is so much fun.

    ~ Yaya
    Yaya's Changing World

  16. Wow, I had no idea! See, this is why I love your blog--I always learn something new, even if it's where to find the latest contest. :)

  17. Great Blog! Happy Friday!! :)


  18. Following you back from FF! Thanks for the follow

  19. Well, I have a Irish daughther and a Irish Fiance and we live in Dublin, so at home We had nearly the same feast as you!

    Following you from FF,
    Please, check out my blog and follow me back ?


    Half Brazilian-Half Irish


  20. Great post...I did not know this. Thanks for the follow. Happy Friday Follow! Have a great weekend!!!

  21. That's fascinating! I didn't know any of this! Have a great weekend! Following you back!

  22. Thanks for your friday follow. Now following you back! :)


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