Sunday, March 17

St. Patrick

Happy Saint Patricks Day!!

Annually people around the world celebrate this day, March 17th, as a day to honor and remember St. Patrick. We wear green (if you don't you will get pinched), make cute crafts, make green food, decorate with Leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold, and some enjoy green beer and see it as a day to have a great big party.
I learned in Perspectives last fall something very interesting regarding St. Patrick. I honestly didn't know anything about the man. Other than he was Irish (which he wasn't), people wear Green, get drunk off of Green Beer and theres a lot of talk about the little Leprechauns and the Luck of the Irish. What I learned was that St. Patrick (who wasn't actually a Saint;he was never canonized by the catholic church) was one of the Greatest Missionaries to ever live. 
Not only that but he was an early victim of Human Trafficking.
When St. Patrick was a teenager (some say 16) he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland and sold as a slave. He spent many years, following being sold, in isolation in a wilderness shepherding sheep for his master. During his time in isolation St. Patrick began praying and cultivating a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is said that Patrick would say 100 prayers by day and 100 by night while in isolation.

God spoke to Patrick in a dream when Patrick was in his early 20's. It is said that God told him to flee from his Master and head for a ship that was awaiting him. So Patrick fled and embarked on a 200 mile journey by foot toward the ship that would take him home. The ship was there, just as God had promised him. Patrick was able to go home. Once he was home, he enrolled in Seminary and became a pastor.

Many years later Patrick received a dream from the Lord again telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. The Celtics that resided in Ireland were in desperate need of the Gospel. They were a drunk, barbaric and perverted group of people that the Roman Catholic church had viewed as hopeless. But God sent Patrick to plant church with in this people group.  I honestly didn't even know much about the Celtic people before taking this class. Listening to the stories about the morality of this people group left me speechless. Patrick was divinely called to these people. Patrick obeyed the call to go. He sold his possession and his inherited land and went to Ireland. The land where he was once enslaved.

Legend has it that Patrick used a Shamrock to teach the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. This is why a Shamrock is a symbol for St. Patrick's Day.  Techniques such of this helped Patrick relate to the Irish since a Shamrock was already viewed as sacred among the Pagans. After being accepted by the pagan Irish, Patrick would work to convert the leaders of the clans and other influential people. It is said that he would pray for the sick, he would cast out demons, preach the gospel and use a variety of musical and visual arts to help get people to place their faith in Christ. He would then baptize them and plant a simple church right there within that clan. He would train up a pastor and disciple them.

That night in class, hearing all of this for the first time, I sat back and just cried. There is so much more that was said that night in class. So much more to this that I don't know but I couldn't help but wonder..... How could I have never known any of this? Why was I never taught who this man was and why was I never taught what he did for the kingdom? How brave and heroic of him to go back to the place that once enslaved him and bring them the Gospel. And Ireland at this time was not the touristy Ireland we know. It was a dark and evil filled place in desperate need of Jesus. And Patrick was the one God called to reach this nation. A nation that God desperately wanted to restore. I learned that Patrick discipled nearly 1000 pastors and planted nearly 700 churches in his life time and he was the FIRST noted person in history to take a strong stand against slavery. He devoted his life until his death to this nation.

Before knowing any of this I was once one of the many Americans unaware of what exactly we are celebrating. I was unaware of what a great influence St. Patrick was in the movement of the Gospel. He brought Christianity to a dark place and time. God's heart beat for this nation and he used who we know as St. Patrick to make his Son, Jesus Christ known among the people there. 

Here's to one of the Greatest Missionaries to ever live. 


  1. i didn't know this either- but i absolutely love missions and missionary stories. Thanks for sharing this. So glad I started following you :)

  2. Um, okay. I didn't know any of this! Amazing. Thanks for sharing!!


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