GREEN BAY, WI – As another St. Patrick’s Day descends upon us, we all find our own unique ways of incorporating the vibrant color green into our day. Everyone has some Irish blood somewhere deep down in their veins, no doubt about it! As an old Irish saying goes: “There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.” Indeed.
And if we have a difficult time finding any Irish heritage in our background, we really don’t have to feel too guilty. The beloved St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, actually was of British descent. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders—after which he spent six years captive in Ireland.
Not a very easy start in life for this young man, who ended up spending six years in captivity—during which time he became a devout Christian. Quite a life of intrigue, since St. Patrick, better known during the 5th Century as Magonius Sucatus Patricius, did end up escaping after believing that God told him in a dream to leave Ireland—to flee to the coast, where a ship would be waiting for him.
After sailing back home to Britain, St. Patrick became a priest. Later on, he dreamt that an angel advised him to return to Emerald Isle and serve as a missionary, which he did—after which St. Patrick was given credit for actually converting Ireland to Christianity.
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Today, however, St. Patrick’s Day has become a glorious, global celebration of Irish culture, devoted to celebrating Irish pride—with many fond memories of St. Patrick. A festive day complete with shamrocks and countless doses of good luck, too!
The shamrock is very familiar to us as a young sprig of clover. Interestingly, St. Patrick is said to have used it in his teachings as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity.
The luck that is always attributed to the Irish comes from another piece of history, however. During the gold and silver rush years later on in the 19th century, a lot of the most successful miners were of Irish and Irish American birth. Over time, the link between the Irish and their mining fortunes lead to the expression ‘luck of the Irish.’
Still, it’s a certainty that St. Patrick would not have put much confidence in sheer luck for good fortune. His Christian faith was what sustained him during the trials in his life—a life filled with love for The Lord of the Bible.
And we see that expressed in his own words: “I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven.”
Well said. And so ends a cozy little story of the famed St. Patrick. On this most wonderful, celebratory day of lucky shamrocks and vivid green and pots of gold, may we all identify just a ‘wee’ bit with the illustrious and well-remembered St. Patrick, Ireland’s most cherished of saints!