We all know this St. Patrick’s Day holiday as celebrating Ireland and Irish heritage. People flock to do the St. Patrick’s Day run, eat at an Irish pub or attend an Irish festival/parade celebrating this wonderful holiday. It is a grand day!
However, many do not know or look into the fact that St. Patrick (387-460) was not actually Irish but a Romano-Briton. Nor do people realize that St. Patrick was not only a Christian missionary, recognized as the patron saint of Ireland or the Apostle of Ireland (Wikipedia) but that he was captured from Wales by Irish raiders when he was only 16 years old and made a slave. After being a slave for 6 years, he escaped and went back to his family. However, after conversion to Christianity and entering the Church, he later became an ordained bishop and went back to Ireland as a missionary. Legend had it that he taught the doctrine of the Holy Trinity via using the three-leaf shamrock green plant as an illustration!
I am always amazed by such a life where such tragedy has bestowed upon someone from another (i.e. slavery here with St. Patrick), and yet, the willingness to go back to the very people that brought so much pain is stronger than that pain. It must take so much forgiveness, compassion, and continued belief in people. We happily salute and celebrate who St. Patrick was and the Irish heritage.
Read St. Patrick’s own writings here