5 Facts About St. Patrick and Why He Matters
Written by Rick Lee James
Once again St. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us. For 24 hours each year on March 17th it seems like the whole world becomes a little bit Irish. Green clothing, plastic shamrocks, parades, and leprechauns seem to abound everywhere on this day as we celebrate Ireland’s favorite saint. But as widely as Patrick’s holiday is celebrated, most people actually know very little about who the man really was and why he matters. Here are 5 true facts about St. Patrick.
1. He Wasn’t Irish
Patrick was born around 385 and grew up in a middle class home in Roman colonized Britain. When he was 16 years old, Patrick was kidnapped by raiders and carried off to Ireland.
2. He Was A Slave
When Patrick was taken from his homeland he was forced into slavery and made to work as a shepherd in Northern Ireland. It was a life of poverty and isolation where hunger and nakedness were his constant companions.
3. He Became A Follower Of Christ While A Slave
Before he was kidnapped, Patrick did not have faith in God and found the priests in Britain to be foolish. The freezing nights in the darkness of Northern Ireland changed that. While shepherding the flocks of his captors, Patrick learned to pray and would cry out to God hundreds of times a night, “God save me! God save me! God save me!” Six years later God answered His prayer and led Patrick to a successful escape.
4. Patrick Was 40 Years Old Before He Started His Ministry In Ireland
Back in Britain in his early 20’s, Patrick felt a call to enter the clergy so he went to school, became a priest, and later a bishop. Many years later, at the age of 40, Patrick responded to a call of God on his life and went back to Ireland as a missionary.
5. Patrick Was One of the Most Successful Missionaries In History and One of the First Human Rights Activists
When Patrick arrived in Ireland, Christianity did not exist there in any established form. By the time Patrick died in 461, Ireland was in practice a Christian nation. Patrick baptized over 120,000 people in Ireland and founded over 300 churches there. Patrick’s courage, loyalty, and generosity were admired by the people of Ireland. As he gained influence, he became the first public figure to take a stand against slavery, imploring the Irish people to end its practice altogether.
About Rick Lee James:
Rick Lee James worship leader, a singer and songwriter, preacher, author, and Podcast host with over 15 years of experience in ministry. As host of the Voices In My Head Podcast Rick has worked with Jason Gray, Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves, Paul Baloche, All Sons and Daughters, Michael Card, Brian Zahnd, Tripp York, Brett McCracken, Ian Morgan Cron, Michael Card, Walter Brueggemann and many more. In 2013 Rick released his first Live album of original songs called, Basement Psalms Live. In 2014 Rick released a book to accompany the album called, Out of the Depths: A Songwriter’s Journey Through the Psalms. The book has since been used as a textbook by National Praise and Worship Institute’s Psalms survey course at Trevecca Nazarene University. Rick also was a contributing writer for the book, Renovating Holiness , edited by Jay Thomas Jay Oord and Joshua Broward. Rick has also been a contributing writer for Worship Leader Magazine and has had a number of songs published by Lifeway Worship. Rick’s new album, ‘Hymns, Prayers, and Invitations’ releases on March 17th, 2016 (St. Patrick’s Day). All songs on the record are being published through Lifeway Worship and are written, co-written, or arranged by Rick.
Find more at www.RickLeeJames.com