5 Things You May Not Know About St. PatrickMar. 8th, 2016 3:25 pm
For thousands of years, the feast day of St. Patrick has been a holy day in Ireland. In the United States, St Patrick's Day has become a day when people of all different ages and backgrounds come together to celebrate Irish culture. Most people from WNY would agree that Buffalo has some of the best parades and celebrations in the entire country. So, what is the significance of the man behind the day himself, St. Patrick?
March 17th is the day that St. Patrick died
After spending most of his life dedicated to helping Ireland learn about the Church, March 17, 461 AD was the day St. Partick was rewarded with his entrance into heaven. He died at Saul, where he had built the first Irish church. It was deemed a holy day, and the first St. Patrick's day parade was held in the United States on March 17, 1762.
St. Patrick wasn't Irish
Though he would become one of the most successful Christian missionaries in history, helping Irish citizens convert to Christianity, he wasn't even born in Ireland. His parents were Roman British citizens living in an area around modern-day Scotland when he was born in 385 AD.
He was once kidnapped by Irish pirates,was sold as a slave and escaped
When he was a teenager, he was taken against his will and sold in Ireland as a slave. During his time herding sheep and learning the culture of the people there, he turned to God and found himself growing spiritually. In a dream, Patrick was guided to the coast. He walked over 200 miles to the coast, where he found a boat, and the sailors who would rescue him.
He wrote of this time in his memoir, The Confession,
"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."
A vision guided him to the priesthood
After returning home and reuniting with his family, St. Patrick saw a vision that prompted his studies. Described in The Confession, he describes a calling.
"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: 'The Voice of the Irish.' As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea-and they cried out, as with one voice: 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'"
He was ordained as a priest after 15 years of study and would later be ordained a bishop and sent to take the Gospel to Ireland.
He used the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity
People today believe that the shamrock is the symbol of Ireland, but the harp remains the actual national symbol. The significance of the shamrock rose because St. Patrick used it to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity. He showed the people how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three separate entities, in one being.
As you can see, there is quite a story behind the man who is responsible for the wonderful holiday that millions of people celebrate each spring. Stay tuned to our Blog for fun and interesting stories, updates, and news around the Catholic schools of Buffalo and Western New York!