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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Irish Blessings

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
~Irish Blessing
There are many myths and legends about Saint Patrick.
Saint Patrick apostle of Ireland. Fifth century Ireland is a lost world, virtually closed to both historians and archaeologists, and what little is known about life and work of Patrick comes from his own writings in Latin, now accepted as authentic, and from brief references in annuals written about two centuries later. In his Confessions, an apologia written in his old age rough Latin, Patrick says that he was a native of Roman Britain, the son of Calpurnius, a deacon who lived in the village of Bannaven Taberniae. Scholars disagree as to its location, ascribing it variously to Cumberland, the Severn valley and the island of Anglesey. He was captured by Irish raiders at the age of sixteen, and sold into bondage to tend sheep and swine on the slopes of Slemish mountain in Antrim for a chief named Milchu. His thoughts turned to God, and he spent many hours in solitary prayer. After six years he escaped, and made his way home. He relates how in a vision he saw a man who came from Ireland with letters, and how he heard the voices of the Irish imploring him to return. He does not say where he studied for the Church, but tradition makes him a disciple of St. Germanus of Auxerre, and he may also have spent some time at Tours and at the monastic island settlement on Lerins off the coast of Provence. According to the Chronicle of Prosper of Aquitane, a contemporary source. Pope Celestine sent one Palladius in the year 421 to the Irish believing in Christ, to be their bishop. This fragment of evidence suggests that there were Christians in Ireland at that time in numbers sufficient to warrant the appointment of a bishop. According to tradition, Palladius' mission had little success, and he was forced to leave within a few months, dying in Scotland about 431. The uncertainty surrounding the date of Saint Patrick's arrival has occasioned the theory of two Patrick's, whose careers were confused by later chronicles, but this remains merely theory. It seems reasonably certain that St. Patrick's mission spanned some thirty years, in the latter half of the fifth century, that it was very successful, and that Ireland, unlike any other country in Western Europe, was converted to Christianity without the shedding of martyrs' blood. In his own words, the saint 'baptized thousands, ordained clerics everywhere and rejoiced to see the flock of the Lord in Ireland growing splendidly.' It is probable that most of his missionary was carried out in the Northern half of the country. The date and place of his death are uncertain; tradition says that he died at Saul, near Downpatrick, Co. Down, on 17 March, the day now celebrated as the national festival.


Allidink said...

That was neat. Thanks.

All the best,

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Hi my sweet friend! Very interesting post and thank you for sharing!!

I also wanted to thank you, too, for your prayers and kind words you have left for me and my family.
If I could reach through this screen and hug you, I would!

many blessings to you and yours,