17 March 461AD
On this day in 461AD Patrick, later patron saint of Ireland, died and upon his canonisation 17 March was celebrated as his feast day.
St. Patrick was a 5th century Roman nobleman’s son born in Cumbria in what is now England. At age 16 he was kidnapped by Irish slave traders and lived thereafter in Ireland. His father and grandfather both were clerics and Patrick was by the time of his abduction educated in the scriptures.
Following a vision Patrick set out upon his mission to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity.
He is credited with succeeding in doing just that as well as driving the snakes from Ireland, elevating the humble shamrock to a metaphor for the Holy Trinity, having his dead ashwood staff take root and sprout into a living tree and with speaking to long dead ancestors who lived long before his time.
In modern culture he and St Nicholas are perhaps the two most popularly and enthusiastically celebrated Saints in all of Christendom.
Today is Saint Patrick’s day. Slainte!