Date Published 01 March 2022
Celebrated annually on March 17, St. Patrick's Day is a holiday known for parades, shamrocks, leprechauns and the colour green, however as someone with Irish Heritage I thought I would share some things you may or may not have know about the Patron Saint of Ireland. Happy reading and enjoy a glass of Guinness.
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. The holiday marks what is thought to be the day of his death on March 17, around 460 A.D.
(Take a Deep Breath) … St. Patrick Wasn't Irish. St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. His father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family.
Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.
At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.
St. Patrick's Visions and Miracles. After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice which he believed to be God's spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. He walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, he began his religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years.
Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons. Instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honouring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross.
Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centred around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. It is no surprise that the story of Patrick's life became exaggerated over the centuries—spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life.
St. Patrick Was Never Canonized as a Saint. He may be known as the patron saint of Ireland, but Patrick was never actually canonized by the Catholic Church. This is simply due to the era he lived in. During the first millennium, there was no formal canonization process in the Catholic Church. After becoming a priest and helping to spread Christianity throughout Ireland, Patrick was likely proclaimed a saint by popular acclaim.