St Patrick’s Day


Art by Allison Miller

On St. Patrick’s Day people wear their green clothes, pinch their friends, and spend time with family. The thing is, most people don’t even know why. Is St. Patrick’s day just an excuse to party? Who was St. Patrick and why do we celebrate him?

Well, for one thing, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish! He was born south of Hadrian’s Wall in Britain, which at the time was part of the Roman Empire. In his early teens, Patrick was captured by Irish pagans and was enslaved for six years in Ireland. He grew to like the spirit of the Irish during that time, and when he escaped back to his family, he vowed to one day return. When he returned, Patrick began his work to become a Saint, so he started by studying at monasteries and became ordained as a priest.

Pope Celestine the first commissioned Patrick to be an apostle in Ireland. While in Ireland, Patrick was given “A hard time by the Pagans”.  They weren’t willing to give up power over the old religion. But, Patrick persevered and began converting others to Christianity, including many family members of the King at the time, King Laoghaire. Patrick began baptizing, confirming and ordaining priests and starting schools and monasteries. All this was accomplished in less than 30 years. During those 30 years, almost all of Ireland had been converted. Close to the end of his life, Patrick wrote Confession, in which he wrote of his life and his mission. He was buried in Downpatrick in present day Ireland.

But what about the clover? What does that have to do with St. Patrick? Well, a three leaf clover was used by the saintly bishop to explain the Trinity. Now it is a common association with St. Patrick. The main reason we celebrate St Patrick’s day is to honor good old Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.