This author grew up on the South Shore area of Boston, having lived in Dorchester, Quincy, Wollaston, Cohasset, and Milton. Any way you cut it, St. Patrick’s Day was then the holiday of the year following Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and the fourth of July. I am a product of Catholic schools for my first twelve years of education. Do not think that’s why St. Patrick’s was celebrated by me and others. You could go to any other religious school or public school at that time and find the color green prevailing. It is St. Patrick’s story that carries the green and the dream. What dream: The story of the boy who is captured from his home in Britain (a Roman colony) by Irish traders and brought to Ireland in servitude. After many years he escapes and in a round about manner arrives home. It has been reported that during his captivity his loneliness precipitated his connection to his faith. There is some talk that he received some revelations from God, one giving him the incentive of returning to Ireland for the sole purpose of bringing the Christian faith to the people there. March 17, 460 AD is his date of death.
What a story. Returning to captivity to save your captors’ souls. He is an example for the most important virtues, at least in my mind; forgiveness, love, and passion for life’s direction. He felt no need for revenge for those who took so many years of his life from him. He did not hate his captives; he loved them enough to return with what he thought was a great gift. His lasting gift is as an ikon for the spirit of the Irish people. So no matter what you may think about green shamrocks on the streets and carnation corsages on coats and green and gold wreaths on the doors, I think of this holiday as a rejuvenation in my soul for love, forgiveness, and passion for my life’s direction.
téigh le Dia K. B. Pellegrino, Author