photo-5Ah, St. Patrick’s Day! The day when we’re all Irish. Whether you’re out drinking Guinness, or green beer, Jameson, or enjoying a steaming cup of Irish Breakfast tea after pre-warming the kettle and the cup, here’s a little background on St. Patrick, because his life story has truly become the stuff of legends:

St. Patrick was born in Britain (right, Britain, not Ireland), to a wealthy Romano-British family. He was the son of a deacon, the grandson of a priest. As a teenager, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders, brought to the then pagan Ireland, and forced into slavery. Despite being a slave in a pagan culture, he contemplated and found God, and after six years, he had a vision that, if he could make it to the coast, there would be a boat waiting for him that would take him home.

The vision was strong enough to make him try. He risked all to get to the coast and soon found himself on a voyage home.

That’s quite a life story, but Patrick wasn’t done yet. Once home, he went to school to become a priest. And then—make sure you’re sitting down to read this next part:

He went back to Ireland.

Completely of his own accord, Patrick returned to the land of his captivity to introduce Christianity to the Irish. (I imagine that decision caused quite a stir initially among his friends and family, but the stories I’ve heard claim that when he sailed for Ireland, he did so with religious artifacts that were gifted to and bestowed upon him, blessings, if you will, ready for the church he would found.)

Upon his return to Ireland, it’s told that he converted thousands to Christianity, that he used the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity to the Irish people (which is why we wear green), and he’s credited as one of the first public figures to denounce slavery.

If one life can do all that, then today, celebrate the crazy decisions you’ve made in your life. Forgive the past and dare to take a new risk. And proudly wear your Irish green, the color of potential.

Live up to the legend.


Further St. Patrick legend & trivia:

  • March 17 is the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death, and the day we remember his life and commemorate the arrival of Christianity in Ireland
  • St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated at the International Space Station
  • St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland and in most parts of the world
  • St. Patrick’s Day is recognized as a Catholic feast day–as such, the Lenten restrictions on food and alcohol are lifted
  • They say he’s never been officially canonized, that St. Patrick is a saint in name only as he died centuries before the canonization process came about in the 12th century
  • Legend has it, he drove the snakes out of Ireland (tongue-in-cheek; Ireland never had any snakes)
  • The Druid priest murders were said to have started in the Seventh Century. St. Patrick lived from AD 385-461.

For a great, illustrated read of St. Patrick’s story that adults and kids can enjoy alike, check out Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola.

While you’re at Amazon, have a look at my book, Upside Down Kingdom