Cover Story: Saint Patrick
His little-known true story of courage—in his own words
I spent a St. Patrick’s Day in County Limerick, Ireland, a few years back as a house guest of my aunt, Kay. She awakened me on the holiday with a cheery “top of the mornin’,” a safety pin, and a shamrock. It is a tradition in Ireland to wear the national flower, a shock of actual shamrock—with the roots and dirt still attached to the plant—pinned to your lapel. I was a wee bit concerned for my green sweater and the dry-cleaning bill that might result. We then trotted off to Mass, because Patrick’s feast day is a holy day of obligation for all Catholics in Ireland.
On March 17, directly across the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland, the cold winds blow in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In contrast, on the same feast day, the sun beams down warm and sunny on the tiny island nation of Montserrat, known as the emerald island of the Caribbean, while the jet stream sends soft rains to the green fields of the Republic of Ireland. What these three lands have in common is obviously not their weather, but a public holiday celebrated on March 17. All businesses and government offices are closed in honor of St. Patrick and the Irish heritage of the communities.
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, Nigeria, and the Archdiocese of New York. Here is a man honored and beloved throughout the world.
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