Monday, March 14, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

May the luck of the Irish be to your back this St. Patrick's Day. Here's a little history on the Patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick.

Hand-Carved Saint By Hank Schlau $32

St. Patrick (389-461) first entered Ireland against his will: the son of a petty Roman official on the west coast of Britain, Patrick was kidnapped at the age of sixteen by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. He was sold to an Irish king who employed him as a shepherd. During his long periods of solitude as a shepherd, he began reciting Christian prayers he had memorized as a boy. After six years in captivity, he escaped and returned home. He was eventually consecrated and then returned to Ireland as a bishop (a shepherd). His work in Ireland was astounding: baptizing tens of thousands and establishing a native clergy and church. His work was a sign of tenacity and love given in a land that had once held him in slavery. In very old sculptures of Patrick, he is sometimes, as here, shown holding a sheep: a symbol both of the work he performed when he first came to Ireland and of his work as a shepherd of the people.

So this St. Patty's Day when I'm wearing a little green, watching the parade, and drinking my fair share of Guinness, I'll be a little more mindful of the true celebration of the holiday.

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