On March 17, many cultures around the world remember and celebrate Saint Patrick, a fifth-century missionary and primary patron saint of Ireland. While members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don’t honor saints the way some of their Christian counterparts do, there are still lessons to be learned from our Christian past.
Here are just a few ways members of the Church can appreciate St. Patrick’s Day.
This Story Will Sound Familiar
For those who don’t know much about the man behind the holiday, it may come as a surprise that Saint Patrick’s life is easily relatable to other popular accounts in scripture. A Roman citizen living in Britain, Saint Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates at the age of sixteen. For the next six years he was enslaved in Ireland where he worked as a shepherd. He would later write that these years were crucial to the development of his spirituality and his conversion to Christianity.
Saint Patrick experienced many of the same circumstances as Ammon, a man in the Book of Mormon who was captured in the land of Ishmael and served King Lamoni. It was Ammon’s role to watch the king’s flocks and he eventually helped convert King Lamoni and his people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Saint Patrick Was a Powerful Missionary
Saint Patrick felt the call to return to Ireland even after being led by God to escape back to his homeland. Just as Ammon felt deeply connected with the people he served, Saint Patrick would spend his life preaching to the Irish people. According to historical sources, he was said to have baptized thousands of people into the Christian faith.
Just as Ammon loved King Lamoni and his people, who would eventually become the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, Saint Patrick loved the people of Ireland and served them dutifully for many years.
He Was Also a Masterful Storyteller
From Christ’s masterful parables to the delightful stories from modern-day prophets, members of the Church find stories and allegories an especially powerful teaching tool. Saint Patrick and one of the most famous symbols of St. Patrick’s Day allegedly came from such a teaching moment.
The shamrock, a three-leafed plant, became a symbol of the Holy Trinity and Saint Patrick is credited with starting the association as he taught the Irish people. Not only are shamrocks and the color green traditional symbols for St. Patrick’s Day, but Saint Patrick is often depicted with the shamrock in art and icons.
These are just a few ways we can be inspired by and relate to a holiday that may not seem our own. How are you inspired by other cultures and traditions?