According to Irish lore regarding St. Patrick he was actually born in Wales around 385 A.D. and given the name Maewyn. As a youth he was far from being a saint and actually considered himself to be a pagan. Around the age of 16 he was kidnapped by pirates who raided his village and sold into slavery in Ireland where he was forced to work as a shepherd. It was during his captivity of about 6 years that he became closer to God.
It is said that he had a vision that directed him to a ship which allowed him to escape to France where he then studied to be a priest under St. Germain, the bishop of Auxerre for about twelve years. During this time he felt his calling was to bring pagans to Christianity.
Patrick, as he was now called desired to fulfill his calling by going back to Ireland to convert the pagans there to Christianity but he was overlooked by his superiors of the church who sent St. Palladius as the first bishop in Ireland. Two years later Palladius was sent to Scotland and Patrick got his wish and was made the second bishop to Ireland.
Patrick was so successful at converting converts that the Celtic Druids running the country has him arrested several times, but every time he escaped. He set up schools, churches, and monasteries all over Ireland to help him to bring the native populace to Christianity.
One of the things that Patrick is aid to have done was to use the three leaf clover to teach people the concept of the Holy Trinity. It has also been said that he raised people from the dead, which of course was never substantiated.
One of the biggest legends surrounding Patrick was that he drove snakes from Ireland though biologists tell us that there never were snakes in Ireland. He is also said to have exiled a dragon to an Irish Lake until Judgment Day, though it is not known which lake this was supposed to be.
In Ireland, March 17, believed to be either the Patrick's birthday or his death day, is a time to celebrate the life of the beloved patron saint.
In the United States, St. Paddy's Day has little religious or historical significance. Established in Boston in 1737, it is essentially a time to put on a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button, and parade drunken through the streets singing a mangled version of "Danny Boy" in celebration of one's real or imagined Irish ancestry.
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Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. Get authentic Irish Gifts at www.uniqueirishgifts.com
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