Thursday, March 17, 2011

Well, well, well, it’s Saint Patrick’s Day again –and none to soon..

I tried to think of something special to blog about today, but last week I discovered that a good many of my friends (who seem to all have Irish blood in their veins on this day…) did not know who Saint Patrick is so I decided to give you all a short history lesson….

Who Was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and one of the most celebrated religious figures around the world, but, factual information about his life is vague. Most information about St. Patrick has been twisted, embellished, or simply made up over centuries, causing much ambiguity about the real life of St. Patrick. However, there are some elements of his story that most scholars accept to be true.

According to Coilin Owens, Irish literature expert and Professor Emeritus of English at George Mason University, Saint Patrick is traditionally thought to have lived "between 432-461 A.D., but more recent scholarship moves the dates up a bit." At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped from his native land of the Roman British Isles by a band pirates, and sold into slavery in Ireland. Saint Patrick worked as a shepherd and turned to religion for solace. After six years of slavery he escaped to the Irish coast and fled home to Britain.

While back in his homeland, Patrick decided to become a priest and then decided to return to Ireland after dreaming that the voices of the Irish people were calling him to convert them to Christianity.

After studying and preparing for several years, Patrick traveled back to Ireland as a Christian missionary. Although there were already some Christians living in Ireland, St. Patrick was able to bring upon a massive religious shift to Christianity by converting the nobles first. They then set an example which the people followed.

But Patrick's desire to spread of Christianity was not met without mighty opposition. Patrick ran into trouble with the local pagan priesthood, the druids. There are many stories about his arguments with them as well as his survival of plots by them. He laid the groundwork for the establishment of hundreds of monasteries and churches that eventually popped up across the Irish country to promote Christianity.

Saint Patrick is also credited with bringing written word to Ireland through the promotion of the study of legal texts and the Bible.

Patrick's mission in Ireland is said to have lasted for thirty years. It is believed that he died in the 5th century on March 17, which is the day St. Patrick's Day is commemorated each year.

The first year St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in America in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts. The first official St. Patrick's Day parade was held in New York City in 1766. As the saying goes, on this day "everybody is Irish!" Over 100 U.S. cities now hold Saint Patrick's Day parades.

May those who love us, love us;

And for those who don't love us,

May God turn their hearts;

And if He can't turn their hearts,

May He turn their ankles,

So we will know them by their limping!

Live Long and Prosper….. 
And Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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