| Mar 08, 2007

Feature Article - March 8, 2007

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Feature Article - March 8, 2007

The legacy of St.Patrick

by Rev. Jean Brown

St. Patrick’s Day, which in Ireland is both a holy day and a national holiday, honours St. Patrick the patron saint of Ireland and the person who brought the Christian faith to the Irish. According to legend, Saint Patrick used a green shamrock to explain the Trinity, since the shamrock, which looks like clover, has three leaves on each stem. Saint Patrick told the people that the shamrock was like the idea of the Trinity that in the one God there are three divine beings: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Another tale about Patrick is that he drove the snakes from Ireland . Different versions of the story, tell of him standing upon a hill, using a wooden staff to drive the serpents into the sea, banishing them forever from Ireland .


Patrick’s early years featured some hardships that drew him closer to God. In his teenage years, he was captured by Niall of the Nine Hostages who was to become a King of all Ireland . He was sold into slavery in Ireland and put to work as a shepherd. He worked in terrible conditions for six years, drawing comfort in the Christian faith that so many of his people had abandoned under Roman rule. Patrick had a dream inspired by God, that encouraged him to flee his captivity and to head South where a ship was to be waiting for him. He travelled over 200 miles from his Northern captivity to Wexford town where, sure enough, a ship was waiting to enable his escape. Upon arrival in England he was captured by brigands and returned to slavery. He escaped after two months and spent the next seven years travelling Europe seeking his destiny. During this time he furthered his education and studied Christianity in the Lerin Monastery in France . He returned to England as a priest, but became convinced that God was calling him to return to Ireland to share the Christian faith in his homeland. Patrick was made a Bishop by Pope Celestine in the year 432 and, together with a small band of followers, traveled to Ireland to commence the conversion. Patrick shared the Christian faith in Ireland until his death at the age of 76. His influence is still felt to this day as nations the world over commemorate him on March 17 of every year.

St. Patrick's Breastplate

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

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