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Luck of the Irish
It's been a while since I did the last Saint Spotlight column, but better late than never! Anyhow, I think we all know why we're seeing green-dyed beer everywhere today, but do you know why we even celebrate St. Patrick in the first place? Many people do not realize St Patrick's story is filled with turmoil, inspiration, and adventure and is worth learning about.
St. Patrick (Patricius) was born in Roman Britain to parents who were devout Catholics. Unlike his parents, young Patrick was apathetic towards faith and God. That changed when at 16, Patrick was taken by Irish pirates and sold to a Druid Chieftain as a slave. He was forced to tend sheep and other animals during his captivity. He spent the next six years of his life in Ireland, observing the culture and practices of the people around him, including Celtic paganism.
One night, he saw a vision of a ship that allowed him to escape back to Britain where he reunited with his parents once more. In his autobiography The Confession (Confessio), the oldest known account of Irish history, he mentions that he was condemned in his home country for an unnamed offense for which he already stood trial. Many believe this is the reason why he went back to Ireland, however, Patrick attributed his desire to return to Ireland to a vision of a man named Victoricus, who delivered him a message:
"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: 'The Voice of the Irish.' As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea-and they cried out, as with one voice: 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'"
From that moment on, Patrick decided to pursue a career as a priest and missionary. When he returned to Ireland once more, he evolved into the man we recognize as St. Patrick.
There are many legends about St. Patrick that still persist today. One, of course, is the famous shamrock story. The typical shamrock has three sides, so St. Patrick used this to teach the Irish people about the Trinity, or the three separate entities that make up the Christian God. St. Patrick is also attributed to banishing all snakes from the island after being attacked by them during a 40 day fast. It is also said that he turned a walking stick into a tree and contacting ancient ancestors of the Irish people. March 17th, the day we celebrate as his designated day, is the supposed day of his death.
Looking for some relevant videos to celebrate the day? Watch the documentary below:
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