- St. Patrick was born a Roman Citizen from Britain....not Irish at all.
- Blue was the original color for St. Patrick's Day, not green.
- Real name was Maewayn Succat
- Pope Celestine named him Patrick (Father of his people) before sending him to Ireland to bring God's word to a pagan people
- Shamrock's might be how he taught the Irish about the Holy Trinity, 3 leaves representing the idea of 3 persons in one
How many in the world celebrating St. Patrick's Day know who St. Patrick was or why he is celebrated? Just like Easter has nothing to do with bunny rabbits and eggs, St. Patrick's has nothing to do with wearing green, leprechauns, or drinking heavily. The celebration started in 1631, March 17th, when the Church instituted a Feast Day honoring St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland.
So who is he and what do we know about him?
He was born Maewayn Succat around the year 380 AD and was the son of a deacon who had been trained in Rome. Born a Roman citizen to well to do parents Maewyn enjoyed the good life but lived a pagan lifestyle. God wasnot part of this life. When he was 16 years old his village was raided by a gang of English pillagers who kidnapped him and sold him into slavery.
Maewayn blamed himself for his enslavement and viewed it as punishment for turning away from God. At some point during his enslavement he experience a vision of faith. He began to live life as a religious man who had a deep faith in God. During one of his nightly prayers he heard a voice, escaped from bondage and made it to France and from there made his way back to Britain, never forgetting that voice he heard during his nightly prayer. Maeywan claimed he heard "The voice of the Irish....they shouted with one voice, we ask you boy, come and walk once among us." He felt called to become a missionary to the pagan Irish that had kept him in bondage for 6 years.
Maewayn studied in France and was eventually ordained a deacon. The Pope Celestine granted Maewyn return to Ireland and bring them God's word. It was at this time the Pope named Maewayn Patrick which means "father of his people" and promoted him to Bishop.
Not much of his time in Ireland is known about his writings reveal a lot of hardship and suffering. He was frustrated by the pagan Irish that they were not able to understand the concept of the Blessed Trinity. Some believe the Irish plant, a shamrock, was used by St. Patrick to illustrate the Holy Trinity, each leaf representing a person of the Holy Trinity attached to one stem.
"Maewyn Succat/ St Patrick is believed to have died on March 17, 461 AD. The legend claims that in just forty years, the Liberator converted all of Ireland to Catholicism."
It wasn't until the 1700's that many of the traditions we have associated with St. Patrick's Day came to came to be. Even the color green was not associated with St. Patrick's Day until 1798. "The Irish countryside may be many shades of green, but knights in the Order of St. Patrick wore a color known as St. Patrick’s blue". The color changed by the supporters of Irish Independence to represent their cause.
As we go through the day let's remember what the true essence of St. Patrick's day is all about.....
St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer
I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.