The Real St. Patrick


When I was growing up, St. Patrick’s Day meant that I had better be wearing green or my peers were going to pinch me at school. Now that I’m an adult, my peers have shifted the focus of the holiday off of annoying pinches to heavy drinking and wearing “Kiss me I’m Irish!” t-shirts.

The holiday began as a celebration of St. Patrick, but has since morphed into an all-purpose celebration of Ireland and Irish culture. Despite the holiday’s current focus, St. Patrick himself was an amazing individual. He’s credited with bringing the Gospel to the people of Ireland—an astounding fact made even more impressive by the fact that he had previously been enslaved there for six years of his life.

The Christian History Institute has a translation of St. Patrick’s confession which is well worth reading. The following is taken from Patrick’s account of the events that transpired in his flight from Ireland. Traveling through deserted country with the crew that spirited him away from the shores of Ireland, he writes:

And after three days we reached land, and for twenty-eight days we traveled through deserted country. And they lacked food, and hunger overcame them; and the next day the captain said to me: ‘Tell me, Christian: you say that your God is great and all-powerful; why, then, do you not pray for us? As you can see, we are suffering from hunger; it is unlikely indeed that we shall ever see a human being again.’ I said to them full of confidence: `Be truly converted with all your heart to the Lord my God, because nothing is impossible for Him, that this day He may send you food on your way until you be satisfied; for He has abundance everywhere.’ And, with the help of God, so it came to pass: suddenly a herd of pigs appeared on the road before our eyes, and they killed many of them; and there they stopped for two nights and fully recovered their strength, and their hounds received their fill for many of them had grown weak and were half-dead along the way. And from that day they had plenty of food.

How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s day? What can we learn about boldness and missions from St. Patrick’s life?

(Interesting sidenote: legend has it that St. Patrick used a shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity.)

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