The story of the Real St. Patrick

March 10th, 2009 by Ken

Next Tuesday, March 17, we honor the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick.  We do it by wearing green, drinking green beer and celebrating with our friends and family.

Next Tuesday is the day that almost everyone in the United States claims Irish heritage although, statistically, only one in four Americans has even one Irish relative.

But while we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the real Saint Patrick’s story is one of trouble, slavery, starvation, redemption and faith.

The real St. Patrick was the son of a Roman landowner living in England during the time of Roman rule, sometime around the beginning of the Fifth Century.

He was captured in a raid by Irish pirates and sold into slavery to the Druids, a category of pagan priests who practiced ritual ceremonies and acted as the judges for the Irish peasantry.

For six long years Patrick served his new masters, working as a shepherd, herding the sheep of those who had enslaved him.  He wrote in his journals that he was an outcast among the pagan people and was truly humiliated by hunger and his nakedness.

One day Patrick had a vision where God urged him to return to his people, and so, at the age of 22, he escaped captivity and journeyed 200 miles in 28 days.

He tried to book passage to France on a ship, but because he had no money, he was unable to afford the journey.  He retreated to the woods, prayed hard and the next day returned to the ship and convinced the captain to take him on as a sailor and let him work for his passage.

Convinced that he had heard the word of God, and that God wanted him to return to Ireland and spread Christianity among the heathens, Patrick studied hard and was ordained a priest.  He asked to be sent to Ireland.

Many previous priests sent to Ireland had been martyred, but Patrick persisted and was sent to the land from which he had been a slave.  His knowledge of the people, his experience with the Druids, and his great faith in God, gave him the ability to spread the word throughout all of Ireland.

The struggle was hard.  He escaped death many times, but when he died, sometime in the late 400’s, he had spread Christianity throughout all of Ireland.

So, while we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day next Tuesday, lets take a few minutes to understand the real St. Patrick.

By the way, he never drove the snakes from Ireland.  There never were any snakes in Ireland.  That’s just part of the Irish Blarney.

Posted in History, Informational, The Real News

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