Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17: St. Patrick

Having attended a Roman Catholic college, I once joked with a fellow student that it seemed like Catholics had "A saint for every season".  Upon further research, I wasn't too far off.  In fact, there's just about one for every day! 

March 17:  St. Patrick

Everyone knows what today is.  It's a no-brainer whom I'm going to refer to.  But let's go over some things that you might not have necessarily known about the famous man that made drinking green beer so popular:

1.  He wasn't Irish. He was born in 387 AD at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland.

2.  His parents were said to be Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

3.  At around the age of 14, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him, whom were Druids and pagans.

4.  He had a dream from God when he was 20 years old, telling him to escape capture by going to the coast and leaving Ireland.  He did so, where he found some sailors that returned him to his family in Britain.

5.  He returned to Ireland thanks to another dream.  In this dream, he heard the people of the land calling, "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."

6.  He studied for the priesthood, later became Bishop, and took the Gospel to Ireland at last, in March of 433.

7.  After years of living in poverty, converting all of Ireland to Christianity, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.  He died at Saul, where he had built the first church. 

8.  Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time. That is how the shamrock is now associated with him.

9.  Pious legend credits St. Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, chasing them into the sea after they assailed him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill.

10.  Another legend states that,  during his evangelizing journey back to Ireland from his parent's home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelizing and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the dogma took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on.

Yes, you can probably find many of these details on other websites, but that's where I got them from.  A little something to tell your pals as you're imbibing tonight at the local pub.