St. Patrick, the Man

St. Patrick of Ireland

Until about ten years ago this is what I knew about St. Patrick’s Day:

  • wear something green or get pinched
  • color food or anything else green
  • eating corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread
  • shamrocks 
  • leprechauns
  • rainbows with a pot of gold at the end
  • parades
  • wishing others Happy St. Patrick’s Day 
  • coloring the Chicago River green
  • a good reason for some people to drink a lot of beer


I’ve since learned a little bit about this man, Patrick, who was given the title “saint” by the Catholic Church and I understand why we have St. Patrick’s day ~ a day to remember a great Christian.

St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, is known for spreading Christianity throughout Ireland in the 5th century.

Born at Kilpatrick, Scotland in 387 to wealthy Roman parents living in Britain.
Died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland on March 17, 461.

When he was around fourteen years of age he was captured and taken to Ireland, which was a land of Druids and pagans, and used as a slave to herd and tend sheep.  During his captivity he turned to God and this is something he wrote:

“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.”
“I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn.  I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

He remained in captivity until he escaped at the age of twenty after having a dream in which God told him to leave Ireland by going to the coast.  He was united with his family after some sailors took him back to Britain.

He then had another dream in which the people of Ireland called out to him, “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.”

Patrick answered the call by studying religion, becoming a priest and then a bishop, and returning to Ireland to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to convert the pagan Irish.  Thousands of people were converted as a result of his and his disciples’ preaching.  Churches and schools were built all over the country, and kings, their families, and entire kingdoms were converted to Christianity after hearing the message of Christ as delivered by Patrick.  As a way to connect with and teach the Irish people, traditional Irish rituals were used to teach lessons of Christianity ~ bonfires to celebrate Easter because they always honored their gods with fire, and the sun, which was a powerful Irish symbol, was superimposed onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross.  He used the shamrock to explain the trinity and it has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.

Believing in the importance of his mission, Patrick continued preaching for 40 years and converted many people in Ireland to Christianity.  He performed many miracles and wrote of his love for God.  He was humble, pious, and gentle, and had a total love and devotion to and trust in God.  After years of living in poverty, traveling, and enduring much suffering {several arrests by Celtic Druids}, he died at the age of 74, in Saul, Ireland, where the first church had been built.

Saint Patrick was never officially canonized and is a saint in name only.  The Catholic Church didn’t perform formal canonization until the 12th century but in it’s early years the title saint was given first to martyrs, and then to individuals recognized by tradition as being exceptionally holy during their lifetimes.

Although not at the same level as Christmas and Easter, St. Patrick’s day is a religious day, and I’m glad I understand it as such.


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10 Responses to St. Patrick, the Man

  1. Crystelle Boutique March 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    it is so nice to know the religious background behind “St. Patrick’s Day.”
    I guess I had never read up on St Patrick before, but now, thanks to you, I know a little bit. Thanks so much! I will tell my children about him…. 🙂

    hugs x

    • Lori March 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      Hi Crystelle,

      I, too, was so glad to know who he is and why there is a day to remember and celebrate him. Thanks for commenting and letting me know that you enjoyed this post.

  2. Angie March 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Thank you so much for explaining in detail who St. Patrick really was!
    I’m stopping by from Domesblissity blog hop.

    • Lori March 14, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I’ll check out your blog.

  3. Monica March 15, 2013 at 5:26 am #

    I am so glad you shared this. I have heard it before but your post was a great reminder. Thanks!
    PS I do a Friday Linky party w/400 visitors if you want to link up!

    • Lori March 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

      You’re welcome, Monica. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ll pop on over to your link party.

  4. Nina March 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Thank you for the reminder of this great Saint, I am Catholic and I knew the story growing up but seemed to have forgotten some important facts! I am your newest follower via feed burner & I will look forward to receiving your posts. I hope you will also head on over to my blog & follow me too!

  5. Emily March 18, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    Thanks for the insights and information about St. Patrick. I didn’t know anything about him either!

    • Lori March 18, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you learned something new. Thanks for visiting my site.

    • Lori March 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

      Oh good, Emily. I’m glad you found it informative and enjoyable.

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