Saint Patrick, The Beloved Patron Saint of
Each year we celebrate the life and death of the patron saint of Ireland for the sake of celebrating a man most people know very little about. What we do know - or think we know - is based on half-facts that are few and far between.
The details about Saint Patrick's life that we assume to be true comes from two writings by Patrick himself (well, probably written by Patrick). These writings are called, "The Autobiographical Confession" and the "Indignant Letter". "The Indignant Letter was a letter written to a man involved in the slave trading by the name of Coroticus.
The Irish Saint Who Was British:
Near the end of the fourth century in
Around the tender age of sixteen, the British born patron saint of
Terrified and alone, Patrick worked in the fields of
It was during this several years of captivity that Patrick began having visions about converting the Pagans in
Visions From God:
One vision and then another would come to Patrick. He became quite haunted by these visions.
These visions, according to Patrick, was how he managed to escape from the people who had taken him to
Patrick obeyed the voice he believed to be God's and made the 200 mile walk from
Soon after his return home, Patrick claimed to receive yet more visions from God. This time, God had sent an angel in Patrick's dream that instructed him to return to
Immediately, Patrick began training for the mission God had asked him to carry out. After fifteen years of religious studies, Patrick was ordained and sent to
Most lore and legend is not very factual when speaking on Saint Patrick and his works in
The Genius of Saint Patrick: Bonfires, Shamrocks and Crosses Meet.
Patrick knew the people of
The Pagans had long worshiped many of their Gods with the element of fire. And so, Patrick decided that the Christian holy holiday of Easter would also include fire - a bonfire.
The shamrock was special to the Pagans. The three-leafed clover had special religious value as the number three signified the work of their deities and the balance within both life and nature. It was also seen as a food for livestock.
Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the holy trinity to Pagans. Each of the three leaves of the shamrock represented its own portion of the trinity â€“ the father, the son and the holy ghost.
The lovely Celtic Cross should be rightfully attributed to Saint Patrick as well. The Celtic or Pagan Sun God's symbol superimposed upon the Christian cross was another mingling of religions that Patrick used to help convert
Banishing Snakes from
The legend goes that Patrick is responsible for riding the entirety of
One interesting story tells of Patrick's cleverness when one snake attempts to stand against the order of diving into the water.
Patrick handcrafted a box and offered the snake to crawl inside. The snake refused. He was loud, boisterous and far too proud, saying, "I am a mighty snake. I would not be able to fit myself into such a small box." The two argued. Patrick declared it was well possible, the snake disagreed. Eventually, out of total frustration, the snake decided to prove his point to Patrick. Of course, the only way to do this was to slither his way into the box. As soon as the snake was inside, Patrick closed the door of the box and tossed it into the sea.
The truth of the matter is, Patrick did no such thing. Science has proved that snakes simply have never existed in post-glacial
Another quite feasible theory is "snakes" were never intended to mean literal slithering creatures, but rather the term "snakes" was used to indicate the evil Christians believed to be true about Pagans. By converting all of
The story of Saint Patrick should not be taken as a "lie", but rather with a smile at the lovely culture that has always been found in
Saint Patrick's Day
Patrick died on March 17, 461 after many long years of poverty and suffering in the name of his faith. He breathed his last breath at Saul, where he had built the first church at the beginnings of his ministry to
Patrick was never actually canonized by The Catholic Church, but rather was on the list of the first saints ever to be released by the church.
Each year on March 17th, we all become Irish. In our green shirts, we raise our green mugs and toast the patron saint of
What Saint Patrick did or did not do is really as unimportant as who wears the most shamrocks this year. What is important is the brilliant culture and storytelling that