Three Things You Might Not Know About St. Patrick

1. St. Patrick was not Irish. Patrick was actually a Welshman who was abducted as a child by Irish brigands. He was a slave for six years before he escaped. After his conversion experience and years of study, he returned to Ireland to convert the Irish.

2.  It’s very unlikely that St. Patrick ever banished any snakes from Ireland.  Scientific evidence suggests whatever snakes there had been in Ireland were gone after the last Ice Age.   Probably this story refers back to the Genesis, suggesting through the power of God Patrick was able to cast out the temptations of the Devil.

3. Most intriguing:  St. Patrick has never been formally canonized as a saint. No Pope has ever declared him a saint, no committee ever met to consider his miracles.  But it’s not an oversight, either.   In the first 1000 years of Christianity, these matters were not decided from Rome, but locally.  A saint was so declared by the people who had known him or her up close.  It was their lifelong example that made them a saint.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Jim McDermott, S.J.

Advertisement

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
9 years 2 months ago
Gab, the piece is titled, "Three things you may not know about St. Patrick" not "Everthing there is to know about St. Patrick".
9 years 2 months ago
''In the first 1000 years of Christianity, these matters were not decided from Rome, but locally. A saint was so declared by the people who had known him or her up close. It was their lifelong example that made them a saint.'' All the more reason to accept in sanctity. No ecclesiastical politics, etc. I just read Justin Catanoso's wonderful book ''My Cousin the Saint,'' and I gained a new insight into JPII's saint-making, he wanted regional saints, he wanted holiness to be recognized from the bottom-up.
9 years 2 months ago
Is that all you can find to say about St. Patrick?
9 years 2 months ago
From the Czech community - Happy St. Joseph's Day.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018
The coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII is seen during a ceremony in Vittorio Veneto Square after its arrival in Bergamo, Italy, May 24. The body of the late pope left the Vatican on May 24 to be displayed in his home region until June 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

BERGAMO, Italy (CNS) — Accompanied by Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo and escorted by both Italian and Vatican police officers, the glass coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII left the Vatican early on May 24 for a 370-mile drive to Bergamo.

On this week's episode, we talk with Lieutenant Governor of Washington State, Cyrus Habib.
Olga SeguraMay 25, 2018