St Patrick was the topic today. We discussed a bit about his spiritual journey to Christianity. He was the child of a Romano British culture. We are told his parents were Christian but many of the Romans who settled in Britain remained pagan. In any event he was rather high-born but at 16 Irish raiders who were running rampant on the coast of Western England took him captive and sold him as a slave in Ireland. He wrote that he came to believe in the Christian god while he was living among the pagan Irish.
He escaped 6 years later when God came to him and told him a boat would be waiting to take him to England again. He did find such a boat to take him home, but no mention was made of whether the sailors who transported him were ordained by God for the effort or whether Patrick had to come up with some cash.
Patrick studied to be a priest. Only high born people could participate in such studies, but Patrick had his father's backing. Then he chose to return to Ireland to try to convert the Irish, his former captors. It is said that he used the shamrock to illustrate the Trinity. (I've been trying to work out the trinity for years, apparently I don't spend enough time with shamrocks. More on this next month.)
Last week the Prime minister of Ireland was in a meeting with President Trump. He informed Mr Trump that Ireland's iconic figure, St Patrick, was indeed an immigrant.
Kenny's comments on the Irish in America are below:
"It's fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. He too, of course, was an immigrant. And though he is of course the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe, he's also the symbol of, indeed the patron of, immigrants.
Here in America, in your great country, 35 million people claim Irish heritage, and the Irish have contributed to the economic, social, political and cultural life of this great country over the last 200 years.
We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America. We came, and we became, Americans. Ireland came to America because, deprived of liberty, deprived of opportunity, of safety, of even food itself, the Irish believed, and four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore.
We lived the words of John F. Kennedy, long before he uttered them. We asked not what America could do for us, but what we could do for America, and we still do."