St. Patrick's Day is coming up and I'm sure your schools are going to be recognizing it with green and shamrocks and leprechauns. That's always fun. But I would encourage you to also teach your children and your students the real story of who Patrick was.
As a young boy he was captured and became a slave for the Irish. He then escaped after six years, became a priest, and went back to share the Gospel with his captors. The consequence of his life was 120,000 Irish converted to Christianity and 300 churches and monasteries were started. It's a fascinating story. St. Patrick's Day is the commemoration of the impact of a Christian missionary not only on the Irish, but on European and Western civilization. As Thomas Cahill writes in his book, How the Irish Saved Civilization:
"[A]s the Roman Empire fell, as all through Europe matted, unwashed barbarians descended on the Roman cities, looting artifacts and burning books, the Irish, who were just learning to read and write, took up the great labor of copying all of western literature-everything they could lay their hands on."
"These scribes then served as conduits through which the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian cultures were transmitted to the tribes of Europe, newly settled amid the rubble and ruined vineyards of the civilization they had overwhelmed. Without this Service of the Scribes, everything that happened subsequently would have been unthinkable."
"Without the Mission of the Irish Monks, who single-handedly re-founded European civilization throughout the continent in the bays and valleys of their exile, the world that came after them would have been an entirely different one--a world without books. And our own world would never have come to be."
Below are some resources for you to use in your home or in your classroom.