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Lifestyles over 50

St. Patrick’s Surprising Story

St. Patrick’s feast day is traditionally held on March 17, the date of his death. On that day, as the saying goes, “Everyone is Irish!” Ironically, Patrick himself was not Irish. However, you can still wear your sweatshirt that says, “Kiss me, I’m Irish!”, even if you’re not.

Although he is the patron saint of Ireland, he was born in Britain to wealthy Romanized parents. He lived primarily in the 5th century, and much of his life is a mystery. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Patrick is primarily known for bringing Christianity to Ireland and evangelizing the Picts and Anglo-Saxons. The Picts were a tribe from what is now Scotland and were known for painting and tattooing their bodies. Anglo-Saxons were Germanics who ruled territories now known as parts of England and Wales.

Patrick is also known for two short works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Letter to Coroticus, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.

Patrick’s father, Calpurnius, was a deacon and a minor local official, but he may have only taken on the office because of tax incentives. There is no evidence that the family was particularly religious, and church offices were regularly bought and sold for financial and political reasons.
When he was 16, Patrick was kidnapped from his father’s villa by Irish raiders. For six miserable years, he literally slaved as a herdsman, finding time in his loneliness and fear to dedicate himself to his faith. Patrick dreamed that a ship was ready for his escape, then escaped from his master and fled to Britain. After near starvation and another brief captivity, he made it back to his family.
Patrick felt called to Ireland but hesitated due to his poor education and lack of confidence. However, his confidence in the Lord overcame his reluctance and he set about preaching and baptizing, often under threat of martyrdom.

Although a lot of miracles and visions are unverifiably attributed to him (such as driving the snakes out of Ireland), and he was never canonized as a saint, Patrick was responsible for introducing Irish culture into Christian lessons, such as creating the famous Celtic cross with the sun in the middle.

After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling, and working tirelessly, Patrick died on March 17, 461, in Saul, where he had built his first church. As is the case with many ancient figures, countless legends have grown up around Patrick, such as his use of a shamrock to explain the Trinity. One thing we know for sure: He never attended a St. Patty’s Day parade. The first one was held in the U.S. on March 17, 1601, in a Spanish colony under an Irish bishop! Eventually, homesick Irish soldiers in Boston followed suit. The rest is history, fraught with green clothing, beer, parades, leprechauns, and toasts.