St. Patrick’s day is one of the most secularized and celebrated holidays each year (like Valentine’s Day). His amazing ministry in Ireland and his story is sometimes overlooked on March 17, but below you’ll find a bit of it to share in this season of St. Patrick.
British-Born Turned Irish Slave
Patrick wasn’t Irish by birth, but was born in Britain and captured by pirates in his teenage years and taken to Ireland as a slave. Ireland was unevangelized, so he lived among the Druids and pagans. However, it seems that he was faithful to God from an early age, and felt that it was God who had given him a dream that helped him escape from slavery by catching a ship back to Britain on the coast of Ireland.
After returning home, he had a vision of the Irish people asking him to come back to Ireland (hard to imagine returning to the place of your slavery). He soon began studying for the priesthood, was ordained a priest, and then a Bishop. Then, he was sent to preach the Gospel in Ireland (the vision coming true!).
Evangelizer of Ireland
Patrick landed in Ireland and began preaching and successfully converting the Druid people, and even a chieftain. He also built churches throughout Ireland. He used the shamrocks of the land to explain the Trinity to the people, traveling the island and preaching for nearly 40 years. It is believed his remains are in Downpatrick, County Down.
Despite the celebrations and excessive drinking associated with St. Patrick’s feast, we can attribute to this saint the conversion of basically the whole of Ireland, which deserves a toast (or two). Read more about him here and make sure to visit the Downpatrick cathedral if you ever visit Ireland or Northern Ireland. Also, St. Patrick’s in New York is beautiful and a testament to the Irish-Catholic heritage that the Irish immigrants brought to America.
Why a Clover?
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and it is reported that he frequently used the image of the clover to teach people about the nature of the Triune God – three in one, yet just one leaf.
Who would be friends with St. Patrick?
- Those with Irish heritage
- Scientists & those who love nature (he used nature to explain the Trinity, after all!)
- Soldiers (the breastplate prayer, below, is great for soldiers)
- Irish (of course!)
St. Patrick’s Breastplate (a snippet)
Christ with me,From St. Patrick’s Breastplate
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.