One of the original victims of the malaise that has brought us “cancel culture” was St. Patrick, in that March 17 has nothing to do with the fifth-century missionary saint. A religious feast that was celebrated quietly for a thousand years in Ireland has become a roaring booze fest in America (at least it was in the pre-COVID world—some of the things COVID is killing may not be tragic losses). But, perhaps by a certain point of view and a keen eye for Divine Providence, St. Patrick’s Day might yet, despite it all, have something to do with the missionary saint of the Emerald Isle.
Irish immigrants to the United States first celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Boston in 1737 and held the first parade in New York in 1762. It is peculiar, though, how Americans have come to “honor” St. Patrick since then—if it is even St. Patrick they are honoring or some secular concept of being Irish. American culture has a way of brutalizing ancient culture, and that because America is a breeding ground for a new race of savages—a new race of pagans with a new pantheon of idols.
The United States is still, even in the 21st century, a missionary country. Yet, by some mystical irony, the one and only saint that is universally “honored” in the land of the neo-pagans is St. Patrick the Missionary. Though his day has been ravaged along with St. Valentine’s and St. Nicholas’s, at least St. Patrick is yet remembered as a saint.
From captive and slave to bishop and missionary
Like any tale worth its salt, the Apostle of Ireland’s begins with a bang. The black-hulled sloop of the dreaded Irish king and marauder, Niall of the Nine Hostages, came roaring down the shores of a coastal town in Scotland. His pirates raided the village, dragging droves of captives aboard their groaning vessel. Among the prisoners was a lad of sixteen named Patrick: son of Calpornius, a Roman official, and his wife Conchessa, sister of St. Martin of Tours. Patrick was a boy who would learn fearlessness from his fearful years as a slave and become the kindler of the flame of faith for the worshippers of sun and tree, converting them to the Son Who hung on a tree.
Patrick was sold as a slave to the Druid high-priest Milchu in the northern Irish over-kingdom of Dalriada, where he learned Gaelic and the rites of Druidism. He learned to make cheese and butter with his master’s children. And he learned to pray on the slopes of Slemish, fending against weather and wolves and finding solace in solitude. After six years, however, a dream shattered the peace Patrick had found as a slave. “Patrick!” a voice called through his sleep, “Your ship is ready! Arise and go!”
Patrick arose and went. Taking nothing, he slipped from his master’s house and fled two hundred miles down the western shore to Killala Bay, where he saw a ship disembarking. “Your ship departs, Patrick!” the voice sounded again in his ears. Patrick plunged into the surf and caught a rope tossed to him by one of the sailors. He was a free man. Young and strong, Patrick was welcomed as one of the crew. When a storm ran the ship aground in France, Patrick found his way to a monastery in Marmoûtiers where he met with his uncle, Martin of Tours, and vowed to become a priest.
Taking Martin’s advice, Patrick traveled to the island of Lérins and was ordained under the patronage of St. Germain. After years of missionary work among the Morini, Patrick was chosen by his holy superior to accompany him to Britain to defend the Faith against the Pelagian heresy.
Read more at Catholic World Report