Well,  yes and no.


I have written several posts on Saint Patrick.  I always caution readers that the Irish love their stories.  Stories often have an important meaning and are a means of teaching traditions, values, and good behavior.  The Irish stories may not be 100% factual, but they serve a purpose.

Much has been written about the great values that the Bible reflects and teaches us.  At the same time, many people do not view the Bible as purely factual. In the case of Catholics, many view the Bible as the story of why not how. The important faith principles of the Bible are paramount and secure in their authenticity–they come from God. But exactly  how these principles come down to us, have a human touch. The Bible writers were not scientists and were not trying to be scientist.

Saint Patrick and many of the Irish saints work the same way.  The stories of the great saint include some authentic history and likely much that was provided over the hundreds of years since his death to illustrate his life, his message, and his association with the Lord.

Saint Patrick did not convert Ireland on his own, but the important conversions he made he did  peacefully while risking his life over and over again. Others followed Saint Patrick.  Saint Patrick was brought to Ireland the first time as a captured slave.   Saint Patrick was alone on the fields of Ireland tending animals for his master while other boys of his class were back in Britain were being educated. Saint Patrick got back to Britain and had to seek his education later in life than many of his contemporaries.  We know he was humbled by his experiences and his level of education. He came the second time as a priest and bishop at great risk to his life.

These are some of the things we know about Saint Patrick by a few documents that he wrote.  There are hundreds of others traditional bits or stories about Saint Patrick—many may be absolutely true, others are not.  Scientific study may tell us that some of the stories were fabricated (removing the snakes for Ireland for example), but other stories are open to debate.  Most of the Irish do not debate the stories they learned as kids about Saint Patrick. We chose what we believe and hold the best to our hearts.  But Saint Patrick was a humble, honest, heroic, saint that loved the Lord and his adopted people more than himself. I am inspired by his humility and how he lived in faith at a time when life for him was truly desperate.