Who is St. Patrick?
Sometime around 431 AD, St Patrick travelled to Ireland to teach Christianity to a people who were at that time, a violent, corrupt, and paganist culture. Traditionally when priests and clergy went into a community they went with the intent to convert. They would meet with tribal leaders, frequented their councils and seek to win favor with the men. But when St. Patrick arrived on the shores of Ireland, he had a different idea.
Instead of going with the intent to convert pagans he went and walked among the people. Instead of spending his time in councils with tribal leaders, he spent his days at the rivers where the women washed their clothes and his nights at the fires where they cooked their meals. In spite of all the advice, training and council he received to do otherwise, St. Patrick spent his time serving and teaching the women of Ireland because he firmly believed if he could convert the women, he would convert Ireland.
And that is exactly what he did. St. Patrick’s success in Ireland was so profound that it not only converted a nation, it became the beacon of light for the entire Christian world during the dark ages. St. Patrick could have gone to Ireland and done what everyone else had done before him, but he knew that if he did, the results would be short lived and he desired lasting change—the kind that only comes from the deep faith of true conversion. What he needed was a mighty change of heart among the people of Ireland. And St Patrick knew if you want to change the hearts of the people of a nation, you go to the heart of that nation—the mothers. He had a choice—change a few men for a short time, or influence a nation for generations. He chose the latter. He went to the women first, taught them, touched their hearts, and then those mothers converted the nation—one tender heart at a time.
St Patrick brought truth and light to Ireland but it was the mothers that embraced it and made sure it burned bright! On this St Patrick’s Day may we remember the humble man that touched a nation and celebrate the women that shaped the world.
“The mothers of a country mold its citizens, determine its institutions, and shape its destiny. “ –Matthew Vassar