Saturday Saints- #17

We have moved onto “P” as our letter for saints,  and so we naturally come to today’s saint, Saint Patrick:

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Proto-Irish: *Qatrikias; Modern Irish: Pádraig; Welsh: Padrig) was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, he is the primary patron saint of the island along with Saints Brigit and Columba.

The dates of Patrick’s life cannot be fixed with certainty but, on a widespread interpretation, he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century. He is generally credited with being the first bishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland.

When he was about 16, he was captured from his home in Great Britain, and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. In later life, he served as an ordained bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on 17 March, the date of his death. It is celebrated inside and outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation; it is also a celebration of Ireland itself.

(Taken from the wiki on St. Patrick, found here.)

Saint Patrick is one of those saints whose life is so filled with legend it is hard to tell what is true, and what isn’t. Some stories are obviously just that, stories, probably folklore that was pagan in origin that was associated with St. Patrick in order to preserve it. What is certain, however, is that St. Patrick remains one of the most recognized and influential saints to ever life. His mark on Ireland is felt even to this day, and probably will continue to be felt for a long time yet.

What really impresses me about him as a Saint is the fact that he, out of Christian piety, returned to the land where he had been a slave. It would have been easy for him to have shunned Ireland, and never set foot there again. But his faith in the Lord, and his love for his fellow man, was greater than any lingering  emotional scars that resulted from his enslavement. There are some who think that Saints are held high regard because they were perfect in their lives, but this is not so. Many were far from perfect, and more than a few lived terrible, sinful lives before they repented and turned to lives of holiness. Rather, what makes someone a saint (besides later recognition) is that they inspire the faithful- they give us hope and the courage to do more with our faith. Saint Patrick is an example of one such person.

Saint Patrick

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Saturday Saints- #17

  1. mdavid

    St. Patrick’s worldwide popularity is a funny thing. Merely by being stubbornly Catholic as birth control became normal for protestants, the Irish exploded in relative population, quickly dominating America, Canada, and Oz. Except for this weird twist of history, Patrick would be a minor saint. The world belongs to those who show up for it.

    This tombstone is the ‘Rudder Stone’, Patrick’s navigator’s grave. I touched this myself nearly a decade ago, and it’s amazingly old.

  2. femininebutnotfeminist

    As soon as I read the name “Patrick” I thought of Saint Patrick’s Day and wondered if this was the same Saint. He is one of only two Saints not mentioned in the Bible that I knew of by name (Saint Nicholas, as in the one that the santa clause story was inspired by, was the other) before you started this series. (Protestant churches don’t have Saints that they recognize in the same way that Catholic and Orthodox ones do.)

    We Irish dominate the American population in numbers? Cool. 🙂

  3. mdavid

    FBNF, We Irish dominate the American population in numbers? Cool.

    I don’t think anyone dominates the US by numbers (Irish ~10%?) but as a unified minority around the Civil War era they did dominate the culture. But the Irish are so blended by now (redheads are simply too hot to last!) they’ve no longer unified as a minority (many, even most? are no longer Catholic, for example), and Hispanics are fast taking over the “dominate minority” slot. I’ve noticed St. Patrick’s Day already slowing out West with Cinco de Mayo filling the party itch. But I swear everybody I know is at least part Irish, so in my parts Mr. Patrick is hanging tough…

  4. FBNF,
    You don’t know it, but you’d probably recognize another by name – St Valentine. Yes, the holiday is named after him.

  5. femininebutnotfeminist

    @ Chad,

    Aww, I didn’t know that, you’re right! I never looked into the origins of Valentines Day. (I doubt there are many Saints with names that start with a V, so we might hear about it in the near future, eh Donal?) 🙂

  6. Pingback: Saturday Saints- Registry | Donal Graeme

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