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Mythologically Speaking: Maewyn Succat aka "St. Patrick"

Mythologically Speaking: Maewyn Succat aka "St. Patrick"


We do our best to research as much as we possibly can to write these posts. We're human, not gods - there may be mistakes. Please correct us nicely and we will change it. We do thorough research, but sometimes miss a detail. 

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Narcissus Beauty is celebrating the Luck o' the Irish today! Well...two days ago, but our posting schedule says today. 

Happy belated St. Paddy's day to those who celebrate and those who can't remember celebrating (please drink responsibly)! We wanted to switch up this week's Mythologically Speaking by touching a category of myths and religions we haven't quite tapped into yet: Catholicism. 

I don't know if I've mentioned it before on this platform, but I spent about 14 years in Catholic school (and then actively stopped practicing Catholicism after graduating high school), so I like to think that I have a pretty beefy knowledge and understanding Catholic Saints and stories. 

So in honor of Saint Patrick's Day and my unintentional Catholic knowledge, engrained in my brain from childhood, I'd like to tell you a little bit about Maewyn Succat, also known as Saint Patrick. 

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Maewyn Succat is actually not Irish! Surprise! He's actually British, born to a Romanized British** family.

**Note: Romanized British does not mean Italian. Romanized Britain relates to an area that was conquered by the Romans in around the 5th century. So, in today's time he'd be considered British, not Italian.
We are very sorry to the Italians we may have offended in this note. Our bad. 

While he's the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, he's not actually Irish. He brought the idea of Christianity to Ireland as a missionary and later became a bishop in the area, converting the Picts and Anglo-Saxons to the religion. 

How did he end up in Ireland anyway?

Well, when he was a teenager, Irish raiders took him from his family's home and made him a slave in Ireland. He was a herdsman* for about six years and during that time of slavery, he excitedly found himself turning to religion and God**.

*I don't exactly know what type of animals he was herding, but usually they're domesticated. He's usually depicted with a Sheppard's staff, so I think we can assume he was a sheep herdsman. 
**Turning to gods and religion was super common, and still kind of is, when people became enslaved. It gave them a sense of hope and something to look forward to, in hopes of a better life. If they prayed to whatever higher power they believed in, then there is hope for being free from enslavement. 

He ended up fleeing from his enslavement and found a way back to Britain. He had a dream, noted in his Confessio, that this guy basically told him that he could be a voice for the Irish. 

So, he went around Ireland after leaving, filled with the spirit of the Lord, and started converting people. We know - same story every time. Let's assume for story's sake, it was people actually wanting to be converted and not forced into conversion (that's what it sounds like, anyway). 

He was baptizing and confirming people all around Ireland and brought gifts to the chieftains and lawgivers in different tribes he went to. It seems like he was pretty careful and kind about it all. He was chained up a few times, too. but that seems to come with the job of being a martyr. 

The most famous legend of St. Patrick is that he somehow miraculously drove away all of the snakes of Ireland to the sea. That's some Harry Potter type story there.

Like most of these stories, they're not based in fact, but sometimes made to be tall tales for people to see how amazing this person was IRL. There's stories like that in all religions. It's just what the humans do to make these spirits, saints, and gods untouchable.

He's also said to have used the three leaves of a Shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, which is probably true. 

Then we get a little bit outlandish with the fact that he allegedly raised 33 people from the dead. Say what you want, but I find that story a little harder to believe than the guy pushing all the snakes out of the country.

He seemed like a decent guy, though. Even one of his critics said, "The moral and spiritual greatness of the man shines through every stumbling sentence of his 'rustic' Latin." 

All I wanted someone to say at my funeral was that I was the funniest person in the room. This guy got the nicest, morally authentic guy. Jesus Christ (no pun intended).


He adopted the name Patricius, also known as Patrick, once he became a bishop. 

While he's a patron saint of Ireland, the Catholic Church literally NEVER OFFICIALLY CANONIZED** MAEWYN SUCCAT

In the most basic of explanations, canonization is the process of the Catholic Church officially naming someone a saint. They look at all the things the person being canonized did in their life and decide whether it was God-loving and holy enough to add the title of saint to their name. 

In the first millennium, there wasn't an actual process to name someone a saint because...they were sort of figuring the whole Church thing out. A lot of saints from St. Patrick's time were just...given the title of saint because they were super popular or seen as outstandingly holy. 

Which is INSANE because no one's actually vetting them, really. 

Either way, St. Patrick is probably one of the most famous, albeit unofficial, saints in the Catholic religion. We celebrate his honor on March 17 now - some people go to Church, other people go for a pint. 

Whatever your choice is, enjoy the day and think about Maewyn Succat!

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