Saint Patrick

Dawn Reed Times Columnist

March 14, 2014

There are many stories and legends about Saint Patrick. From Encyclopedia Britannica, history.com and a few other places, I’ve found the most interesting things.

Patrick was born in Britain about 389 to wealthy parents who were Christians. At the age of 16, he was captured by pirates-no kidding-and taken as a slave to Ireland. He worked as a shepherd during that time, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to God for comfort. Patrick escaped after six years of slavery and walked nearly 200 miles to the Irish coast. He returned to his home in Britain.

As a result of his experiences, Patrick became driven to convert the Irish to Christianity. According to history.com, Patrick told that an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to go back to Ireland as a missionary.

Back in Britain, Patrick’s religious superiors felt he did not have enough education and were reluctant to let him return to Ireland as a missionary. After a long process, he was finally able to go.

He began his work in northern and western Ireland, where no one had ever preached about Christ. The Irish people came to trust Patrick and became friends with him. He is said to have founded more than 300 churches and baptized more than 120,000 people. According to legend, the three-leaf shamrock was one way Patrick taught the Irish people about the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit). Many people believe the shamrock came to be the traditional symbol of Ireland as a result of this legend.

St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17th. It is believed that Patrick died on this date around 460 AD. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in the United States, NOT Ireland, in 1762.

I know you’re not studying for a test, but isn’t all that good to know?!

I LOVE to tell kids I see during the month of March about Saint Patrick! Kidnapped by pirates, being a slave and then a suspenseful escape! Holy Smokes!

To think that he wanted to go BACK to Ireland and lead those people to Christ! He could have been very bitter, needed lots of therapy and a long vacation, but he let his bad experiences spring board him into ministry!

Over the years, I’ve gotten aggravated at his “religious superiors”. Apparently they hadn’t been reading the parts of the Bible (from Genesis to Maps) where God used ORDINARY people to do EXTRAORDINARY things! One of my favorite sayings is: God doesn’t call the equipped…He equips the called!

Everybody has something bad that’s happened to them in the past. Everybody has a story. What if, we let God use us AND our difficult situations to help, comfort and encourage others like Patrick did? That means we ALL have an “Ireland” somewhere. Who or what would that be to you? And btw-we are supposed to be telling others about Christ every day. Patrick used a shamrock, which was perfect for him. Our methods may be different. (Sometimes I use Little Debbie’s or candy.)

Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day (I am!)…and tell somebody his story. It’s as simple as saying…”Hey, have you ever heard the story of St. Patrick? Did you know he was kidnapped by pirates?” and there you go! Use a shamrock if necessary.