Who exactly is Saint Patrick?


Quinn McCarthy

What some might not know is that St Patrick wasn’t actually Irish; he was actually born in Britain. At age 16, he was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family estate. They then transported him to Ireland where he spent 6 years in captivity. During this time, he worked as a Shepherd, outdoors and away from people.

After six years, Patrick escaped. He walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo then escaped to Britain. There, Patrick began religious training which lasted for nearly 15 years. After he passed religious training, he was sent to Ireland to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and began to convert the Irish.

Patrick chose to incorporate traditional rituals into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate Irish beliefs. For example, he introduced bonfires into the Easter celebration since the Irish would honor their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross so that the symbol would be more Irish.

Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. He may have been the patron saint of Ireland, but he was never actually canonized by the Catholic Church because there did not exist yet a canonization process in the Church. After he became a priest and helped spread Christianity throughout Ireland. Patrick was most likely proclaimed as a saint by popular acclaim.

St Patrick died on March 17, 461, which would become the day of St Patrick’s Day. Families go to church in the morning and then celebrate for the rest of the day, many attending parades or drinking.