Mar 16, 2009

The Day Everyone Is Irish

Irish Blessing

May you always have...
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire.

St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow, and as you've probably noticed it is brewing up to be a big beer, emerald colored rivers, leprechaun footprints are seen on sidewalks and shamrocks by the hundreds appear like magic. What most folks don't realize is that while St. Patrick is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland, those snakes were probably just a metaphor for early Celtic Paganism. Once St. Patrick arrived, he spread the gospel far and wide, effectively converting an entire race of people to the new religion. The story of St. Patrick is an interesting one, though, and he was credited with a miracle for his work in Ireland.

The real St. Patrick was believed by historians to have been born around 370 c.e., probably in Wales or Scotland. Most likely, his birth name was Maewyn, and he was the son of a Roman Briton named Calpurnius. As a teen, Maewyn was captured during a raid and sold to an Irish landowner as a slave. During his time in Ireland, where he worked as a shepherd, Maewyn began to have religious visions and dreams -- including one in which showed him how to escape captivity. Once back in Britain, Maewyn moved on to France, where he studied in a monastery. Eventually, he returned to Ireland to "care and labor for the salvation of others", and changed his name to Patrick, which means "father of the people."

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