If you’re looking to understand St. Patrick’s Day, then start by understanding some basic facts about St. Patrick himself.
1) The Best Information We Have on Him is From Two Letters
Two of St. Patrick’s letters provide the best information about him: Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus and Confession. These letters, interestingly, are the oldest surviving documents that were written in Ireland. Understanding this may help you see how many of the stories about him are mythological tales and mainly hyperbole.
He was born as a Roman Citizen in Britain, around the 4th Century AD.
As can be imagined, St. Patrick had a strong Christian upbringing. His grandfather was a priest and his father was a Christian deacon and important figure in the community.
4) He Was Kidnapped
St. Patrick was kidnapped as a teenager by Irish pirates who then sold him into slavery. So, if you never knew how he arrived in Ireland, now you do!
While a slave and working tirelessly for many years, he had a deep religious conviction. Eventually, he was able to escape slavery and go back home to Britain. However, he later returned it Ireland and became a Bishop there; he wanted to preach in areas that have never heard the gospel before.
St. Patrick is a great influence; he is the living example of a person who loves his enemies. Many of us that are hurt by someone or something in our lives, tend to stay away from those people or places; we distance ourselves in order to forget the pain and tragedy that we went through. St. Patrick could have done this; he could have stayed at home in Britain and cursed the savage Irish pirates for kidnapping him and stealing his youth. However, he chose to live out Jesus’ example and decided to go back to the very place where he was a slave; this time, though, he went with a mission to preach the gospel and spread that message of salvation.
St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography
The Story of Saint Patrick: Patrick’s Confession with his Life and Acts (Illustrated)