Well, Patrick is not actually “of” Ireland, he was an Englishman. At 16 he found himself as a devout atheist with a deacon for a father and a priest for a grandfather and he was stolen into slavery by the Irish.

The story goes that for six years he worked the rough hillsides as a shepherd for a farmer who was a Druid priest. He started to pray every day for freedom and to return to his homeland. He had a vision that there was a boat waiting for him to go back to England. He fled and discovered the boat. He found his beliefs in those moments and long story short he later became a Bishop. He felt the call to return to Ireland to help the people who enslaved him and he went back to the land he fleed from.

He became a beacon of Christianity and many people converted because of him. He is praised as the patron saint of Ireland for all the good works he did there. He is believed to be buried underneath Down Cathedral (or on the grounds somewhere) in Downpatrick, UK.

Patrick, original name Maewyn Succat, is so much more than green beer, parades, and Irish food & culture celebrated on March 17th. He was an amazing human being who lived through suffering and slavery and still had a heart to help people through ministry. May we all remember St Patrick this way and invoke his spirit in our own lives, no matter your beliefs or non-beliefs. The lesson here is to always be kind and loving, even to those who persecute you.