Work on St. Patrick’s Day? Nunsense!
My decadent behavior during those years certainly didn’t help my mother’s efforts to improve our national image. She would faithfully write to the Hallmark card company every year in protest over the betrayal of the Irish as drunks in their green greetings.
Though I thought she was stark raving mad at the time, my view of our holiday is more in line with my mother’s nowadays. Sure, I’ll still hoist a pint or two, but my first stop is now a church, where I reflect on the saint that was captured and carried off as a slave to Ireland in his teens.
After remaining captive for six years as a herdsman his faith grew daily, and when he escaped back to Roman Britain, he recalls a haunting vision.
“I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland,” he wrote. “His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them.
“I read the heading: ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea -- and they cried out, as with one voice, ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.’”
Is it any wonder that Patrick is our patron saint? His lesson is one that many Irish and Irish Americans here in the States can identify with -- you may leave Ireland but Ireland never leaves you.
Sister Regina knew that, and when I am in church on the morning this St. Patrick’s Day, I will light a candle and thank that nun for watching over my wretched soul and for instilling a sense of Irish pride in my formative years.