Of necessity of a rather short attention span today this was a rather abbreviated lesson on the history of Saint Patrick’s Day…
Patrick was born in England in the mid 300s AD, like most things in that time we don’t have an exact year and date. I painted this peg doll to represent him as an older man, so you’ll have to pretend he’s a young man here. When Patrick was about 16 years old he was kidnapped by raiders and sold to Ireland.
While in Ireland Patrick was a rather unhappy man, not too surprisingly he was a slave after all. At some point Patrick met a man who told him about Christ and he became a Christian. His master entrusted him with a job far away and during that time Patrick was able to escape back home to England.
While there he visited his family briefly before traveling on to…..
France. There Patrick spent several years being trained, and he learned to love God and those who were lost. He gained such a heart for the lost that he wanted to go back to Ireland and teach to those who had mistreated them.
When Patrick arrived there he faced great challenges. The druids of the region recognized Patrick as a threat to their power and tried several different times to kill him. Each time God protected Patrick from those dangers.
There were many different questions for Patrick, one of them was about the Trinity. They didn’t understand how God could be one person and three parts, after all didn’t they have many different gods, so why didn’t the Christians?
Patrick looked down and saw a shamrock. He picked it up and asked them about it?
“How man parts does this shamrock have?”
“But, it’s all one shamrock, right? This is just like God, God has three parts the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, yet they are all one.”
One of my favorite stories in the history of Saint Patrick is part of why he was given Sainthood. (In the Catholic church to be declared a Saint you must do 3 miracles, there’s a much longer explanation, but that’s one of the things I remember for sure).
Why does Ireland have no snakes?
Well, legend has it Saint Patrick scared them out. He was praying and fasting for Ireland, and a snake tried to bite him. So Patrick chased all of the snakes out of Ireland. I have a friend or two who would happily live in Ireland just for that.
But why March 17 for Saint Patrick’s Day?
Because according to church history that is the day Saint Patrick died, so they put his feast day on March 17 which evolved into Saint Patrick’s Day. But why not his birthday you ask? Well, quite honestly we don’t have a clue when that is.