The history of St. Patrick’s Day begins towards the end of the fourth century with the birth of Maewyn Succat. Born to a Roman-British military officer, he grew up in what’s now known as the United Kingdom, likely Scotland or Wales. Pirates kidnapped him at a young age and he spent much of his youth in an Irish prison.
After six years in Ireland, he received a message from God who told him how to escape. He followed the instructions and sailed to Britain before moving on to France. There, he joined a monastery under St. Germain and spent 12 years training.
He became a bishop then received another message from God telling him to return to Ireland. St. Patrick set course for Ireland with the pope’s blessing. Once there, he began converting the population to Christianity, much to the displeasure of the Celtic Druids. He was arrested and subsequently escaped several times.
His efforts didn’t stop at converting the population though. He also set up monasteries, schools, and churches throughout the land. By the seventh century, St. Patrick had become the center of legends. He died on March 17, 461. Since then, March 17th has been known and celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day, a favorite holiday of ours here at Joe Ball GMC.