Who Was St. Patrick?

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Marked as a holiday in many people’s calendars throughout the globe for Catholics and non-Catholics alike, March 17th has become a day synonymous in many countries with embracing all things Irish.

Source: St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School

Whether you celebrate St Patrick’s Day in vibrant and celebratory New York style, with the largest and oldest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world, with a pint of Guinness at your local pub, or with a visit to church for mass (considering especially that this St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday), it may be interesting to know more about the man for which this day receives its name. So, with that said, let’s take a quick look at the life of St. Patrick.

This patron saint of Ireland was actually born not in Ireland but in Roman Britain (Scotland, to be precise), likely in 387 AD.

However, at just sixteen years old, Patrick was taken by Irish raiders and held as a prisoner in Ireland for six years. Though he worked largely in solitude during his captivity – in which he worked as a shepherd slave – he was surrounded by Irish society, which at the time was pagan.

Despite his circumstances, Patrick turned to God, who told Patrick to leave Ireland in whatever way he could. After successfully escaping Ireland and returning back to Britain, Patrick underwent Catholic education for fifteen years. Being ordained as a priest, he traveled back to Ireland as a missionary and spent the following forty years Catholicizing Ireland. Attributed to the resounding success of his missionary work was Patrick’s decision to introduce Catholicism as a compliment to the well-established pagan Irish beliefs and customs.

Though the accuracy of this date has not been confirmed, it is alleged that Patrick passed away on March 17th, 461 AD in Saul, Ireland. Hence, his memory and contributions to the diffusion of the Catholic Church have been celebrated, though he was never officially canonized. Additionally, his larger association as a notable figure in Irish society has extended far beyond religious connotations, being a symbol of Irish culture and pride for the Irish and those of Irish ancestry… But even for those who are not Irish, as they say, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

References

Chadwick, Jane. “17 Secrets of St. Patrick.” My Irish Jeweler, 15 Feb. 2023,

www.myirishjeweler.com/eu/blog/17-secrets-of-st-patrick/

“Facts about St. Patrick.” St. Patrick’s Catholic Voluntary Academy, 21 Apr. 2023,

www.st-patricks.leicester.sch.uk/our-school/facts-about-st-patrick/.

“Who Was St. Patrick? – Celebration, Ireland, Catholic.” History.Com, A&E Television

Networks, 4 Mar. 2024, www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/who-was-saint-patrick

Montana Lorbetske
WRITTEN BY

Montana Lorbetske

One of the most attractive aspects of studying international relations and politics is its versatility, with every conceivable topic being relevant to this study, by connection to humans. I find everything about humans, with our simultaneously complex and simple nature, to be endlessly fascinating. In my life, I aim to intently observe and evaluate humans and their connections to all matters of attention and make personal connections with people in order to gain insight into the innumerable iterations of humanness and the human experience.

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