For the majority of my life, I, like most people on this planet, knew only that St.
Patrick was the patron saint of the Irish and green beer. Being a good mother, I even once dyed my kids’ eggs and bacon green to start a tradition—which I never repeated since, being sensible kids, they wouldn’t touch the disgusting stuff.
A few years ago, that changed when my historian husband introduced me to the relatively short and utterly fascinating book, How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill. I truly recommend all his books, even though I don’t always agree with everything he says. But, to the point…
In this book, there is the true story of St. Patrick. You can also click over to Wikipedia and so on to find the same thing, but who takes the time? Here’s the basics…Patrick was the son of a high-ranked Roman and a well-to-do woman Gaul, the French to us. He was captured in a raid and made a slave, but not before a servant imparted the rudiments of a Christian faith. If he’d grown up privileged and comfortable, we would most likely never have heard of him and corned beef and cabbage would remain just another ethnic dish.
Instead, he became the slave of a Druid High Priest. Set to tend his master’s sheep (who knew Druids kept sheep?), Patrick was isolated and miserable, and mistreated. He turned to God and the Spirit lifted him up. He fled six years later.
Ireland didn’t leave him, however. He traveled around Europe, became a priest, was sanctioned by the Pope, and went back to the people he’d learned to love. He converted the whole country. Oh, the Druids set out in force against him, one in particular employing magic against him while flying through the air, but Patrick prevailed.
Rome fell. Barbarian hordes overthrew the government, killed many, and torched libraries. Well, dang them, why did they have to do that? In fact, if Patrick hadn’t converted Ireland, brought them peace, and created monasteries and abbeys where the great literature of antiquity would be copied and hidden—very little would remain. Of course, mummified crocodiles have been found with pages and pages of papyrus, but that is only recently. What we had between the 400s and the 1800s can be credited, at least to some extent, to the Irish on their remote island that escaped notice for long enough.
So, raise a glass of green beer (nasty stuff) with me and thank St. Patrick! Otherwise, The Eddy Complex couldn’t have been based on Oedipus Rex and so very much more.