Its March 17, a grand day in which so many Irish, other Celts, and Americans of every kind gather to celebrate and honor a truly great Welshman — St. Patrick of Ireland.
As my Welsh immigrant Grandfather taught me on his knee so long ago: “Son,” he said, “our Irish Celtic cousins are a fine and brilliant lot, you know — they had the wisdom to choose a grand Welshman, the beloved Patrick, a son of ancient Cymru (Wales), as the Patron Saint of Ireland.”
It’s true, if not well-known in America, that St. Patrick was in fact born in Cymru (now called “Wales” as a result of invasion), a son the Cymru, the native people of the island now called England or Great Britain. The Cymru are better known as the “Welsh,” a named imposed on them by foreign invaders from Germany, i.e., the Angles. They renamed the native Cymru as the “Welsh,” a name which means in the invaders’ language “the foreigners,” or “strangers.” Thus the native people, the Cymru, became the Welsh, i.e., “foreigners” in their own land. (Sound familiar to Native Americans?)
However, neither invasion and occupation, nor even slavery prevented Patrick of Wales from becoming St. Patrick of Ireland, one of the greatest figures in history.
St. Patrick was born in Wales to native parents who spoke Welsh and Latin, as Wales was then under occupation by the Legions of Rome (which had renamed the Cymru “Cambria” and the natives “Cambrians).
At the age of sixteen, Patrick was captured by an Irish slave raiding party. He was taken to Ireland and lived there as a slave until the age of 22, when he escaped and returned to his native land, Cymru (Wales).
No longer a slave, Patrick would later become a Catholic priest, and returned to Ireland as the first Christian missionary to Ireland. He became beloved and the Patron Saint of Ireland by his exemplary spiritual Christian life.
All of this is true, and remarkable. More of the true facts of the extraordinary life of St. Patrick of Ireland, who is celebrated by so many in America and around the world, are excellently told in author William J. Federer’s “SAINT PATRICK: The Real Story Of His Life & Times, From Tragedy To Triumph.” And see also, Bill Federer’s “American Minute: March 17, St. Patrick”:
So, on this St. Patrick’s Day 2012, allow me to salute my Celtic Cousins the Irish for their brilliance in naming a Welshman their Patron Saint, and to wish upon all Americans who will join in honoring that great Celt and Christian Saint, Patrick of Ireland, a slightly modified Celtic blessing:
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine always upon your face,
May shamrocks and golden daffodils always line your path,
May the blessing of St. Patrick be always upon your soul,
And may song rise always from your fine American hearts.”
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com