March Celebrations!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!
 

I’m wearing my green this weekend – this whole month, in fact – and not just because I wear it so well!  It’s March when St. Patrick’s Day and green harbingers of spring are popping up all over my yard!

Currently, hubby is outside weed-eating my wildflower garden debris from last season and soon there will be green and pinks peeking out of the ground bringing the hope of new life and fresh starts to our winter weary hearts.  One fresh start, in particular, that I am hopeful for is more blogging time to both write and read for the inspiration that is Blogland.  

March is my Blogoversary month!  

This year I celebrate TWO YEARS of blogging and a whopping 204 FOLLOWERS who think I have something to contribute to their day in the realm of good things and beauty!

I fear a hectic production and teaching schedule has kept me less able to visit and function here in Blogland as I’d like.  However, I couldn’t let this month – or St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on Pink Saturday – pass by without logging in with best wishes, a great story, and a GIVE-AWAY!  My best wishes to all and sundry go without saying, and the GREAT STORY follow here – my annual re-print of the STORY OF ST. PATRICK.  

And, my Give-Away this year?  For history buffs and lovers of lovely things – a copy of one of my favorite non-fiction books on the subject for the weekend –  

How the Irish Saved Civilization  
by Thomas Cahill

Do expect a couple of green-themed surprises tossed into the mix when the winner opens the package, too!

HOW TO ENTER:
1.  Leave a comment here on this post – and any subsequent post of mine for the rest of the month!
2.  Link back to me from your blog – and leave another comment telling me that you did!

That’s it!  I’ll be collecting comments all month and have my leprechaun (see photo below) pull the name out of his hat on the last day of the month!   

AND NOW – Presenting a GREAT STORY . . .

My third post, originally published on March 13, 2011, was about a favorite historical topic of mine – the story of how Christianity came to the British Isles and the great part played in His Story by the many missionary men and women who braved the darkness of a pagan and illiterate culture to bring the saving Grace of God, Light of the Gospel, and literacy to the ancient Celtic lands – England, Scotland, and – of course – Ireland.

Since I had barely made it into Blogland at the time, and perhaps a total of five of my friends actually read it, I thought I’d re-post the piece on the day itself – St. Patrick’s Day – sharing a little Green with all and sundry on Pink Saturday!  Enjoy!
 

“Wherever they went the Irish brought with them their books . . . tied to their waists as signs of triumph, just as Irish heroes had one tied to their waists their enemies’ heads. Wherever they went they brought their love of learning and their skills in bookmaking. In the bays and valleys of their exile, they re-established literacy and breathed new life into the exhausted literary culture of Europe.” 
Thomas Cahill
How the Irish Saved Civilization
Storytelling has always been an important part of the Irish culture. There are many tales of olden days, when the first people lived on Irish land. These people were conquered by invaders from Gaul and the mainland. Slowly, the original inhabitants of Ireland, shrunk, becoming the “little people” of legend. Whenever something odd happened, the Irish would blame the “wee folk” – leprechauns and fairies – and endless tales of mischief delighted generation after generation.
Fanciful stories of faerie folk and little green people of questionable temper have their place in the realms of make-believe.  But, truth is often stranger than fiction – and there is one story belonging to the Irish that has been told for 1500 years, continuing to inspire generation after generation.
Part 1 – The Fall of Rome and the Rise of the Irish Raiders*

The world ended in August, AD 410. That was the day Alaric and his band of Germanic Visigoths entered the city of Rome, sacking and looting the capital of the greatest empire the world had ever known. The fall of the city sent a shudder through the Mediterranean lands, but in Roman Britain no one even noticed. Once the barbarians entered the gates of Rome, the Roman army was summoned to defend their capital and left the British Isle with no protection from her enemies.

The collapse of the Roman power was welcome news to the Irish who made their living raiding isolated British farms for slaves.  The capture of young boys was the most lucrative since they could be broken easily and were useful in the dirty, dull tasks of farm life.   The withdrawal of the Roman navy from the Irish sea made more daring raids possible, so one moonless night in late summer we can imagine that a few boats slipped into the narrow waterway separating Ireland from Britain and headed for a tempting prize – the rich settlements on Britain’s western coast, a land that included scores of poorly protected villas.

As the boats neared the shore, the sails were lowered from a single mast.  Quickly and silently they slipped over the side into the water and carefully pulled their leather and wood-framed vessels onto the beach. A few men were left behind to guard the boats – no fires, no laughing, no talking above a whisper. If the boats were discovered and the alarm sounded, the raiders had no hope of seeing their Ireland home again.

Their footsteps were muffled as the men marched inland through the fields, til at last, in the distance, they could see their destination – a modest but prosperous villa of a loyal nobleman – a small two-story building with no more than a dozen rooms. The wall surrounding the structures stood no higher than a man’s neck.

Part 2 – Young Patrick is Seized!*

The Irishmen quickly moved over the wall or perhaps through an unlocked gate, with most slipping into the servant’s quarters while a handful carefully worked up the stairs of the main building into the sleeping chambers of the owners.

The young man in the second bedroom had no time to fight back. His parents were away in another town where his father served on the city council. He was alone on the villa’s second floor with only a few household servants downstairs when the raiders entered his room. They had him gagged and bound before he was fully awake. A chain was fastened around his neck, and along with the villa’s servants he was marched off in line to the waiting boat. Surely someone from the local guard would rescue him. Surely his parents would pay anything to ransom him. He was educated. He was of noble birth, due to inherit power and position in the city.

But the raiders moved with a swift efficiency, killing any captives who cried out for help or slowed them down. And there was no hope for rescue – the wild island where he was heading was beyond the reach of civilized Britain. His life of privilege and luxury was over – Patricius, known to later ages as Saint Patrick, was now a slave.

Part 3 – In His Own Words*

I, Patrick, am the most unlearned and the lowest of all the faithful. My father was a deacon, and my grandfather a priest. At the age of sixteen I was taken captive and shipped to Ireland, along with thousands of others.


When I arrived in Ireland, I was sent to tend sheep. I used to pray many times each day; and as I prayed, I felt God’s love fill my heart and strengthen my faith. I had to stay all night in a hut on the mountain, looking after the sheep, and each day I would wake to pray before dawn in all weathers – snow, frost, and rain. I remained as a slave in Ireland for six years.


One night when I was asleep, I heard a voice speaking to me. It told me that a ship was waiting to take me home. I awoke, and immediately ran down the mountain, and hurried to the coast. I found a ship about to set sail; and although the captain did not want to take me, one of the old sailors smuggled me aboard.   I was overjoyed to see my family again, and at first thought I should never leave them again.

But one night I had another dream in which a voice spoke to me. The voice implored me to return to Ireland, and preach the Gospel. When I awoke I felt as if I were a slave again – but now God was my master.

Patrick never thought he’d see the shores of Ireland again.  He finished his education and entered the ministry.  As he sought the will of God for his life, he knew he must take the power of God’s Word to transform lives to the people of Ireland – the very people who had enslaved him in his youth for so many years.  When he went, he brought with him the fruits of man’s literary achievements in addition to the Bible.  Literacy was a tool he used to change the course of a nation – and ultimately the world.

Part 4 – Patrick’s Song*

Photo by Frank Ippolito.
St. Patrick was a shepherd slave keeping flocks of sheep.
He lived alone in a mountain home with freezing hands and feet.
He prayed all day – he prayed all night and the Lord God he did meet:

And God said . . .
Do not fear, I am near – feed your hungry sheep.

St. Patrick was a holy man, he served God with his heart.
One day God freed him from his woes to make a brand new start.
He sailed away no more to stay with sheep in Irish fields:
Because God said . . .
Do not fear, I am near – Through you men will be healed.

St. Patrick was a good student who learned his lessons well.
He went to school for discipline to read and write and spell.
In his new life there was no strife he loved to learn and grow;
Then God said . . .
Do not fear, I am near – back to Ireland you must go!

St. Patrick was obedient to God’s call to leave his home.
He sailed away to Ireland’s shore with books about Greece & Rome.
He taught them all the Bible’s call to love God and fellow men;
And God said . . .
Do not fear, I am near – to do miracles with a pen.

St. Patrick taught men how to love, how to read and write and live.
Patrick’s Ireland rose to save the day –
What a great gift they would give.
Through their pen and art now we can be smart
Reading tales of long ago:
When God said . . .
Do not fear – I am near – I will always love you so!

Part 5:  Ireland’s Legacy to the World Excerpted from How the Irish Saved Civilization*

Now, while Patrick and the men who followed him built great monasteries the length and breadth of this remote and forgotten island called Ireland, bringing light and life to a dark and violent world through love, literature, and learning, the rest of the world was in shambles due to the barbarian hordes sweeping across the Roman Empire with their darkness, illiteracy, and uncivilized ways. They “lost almost everything . . . titles, property, way of life, learning – especially learning. A world in chaos is not a world in which books are copied and libraries maintained. It is not a world where learned men have the leisure to become more learned. It is not a world for which the Latin professor schedules regular classes of young scholars and knowledge is dutifully transmitted year by placid year. . . As Roman culture died out and was replaced by vibrant new barbarian growths, people forgot many things – how to read, how to think, how to build magnificently.”

But, learning was a raging fire across Ireland. Towns grew up around monasteries built by Patrick and his followers – where everyone could come and learn, and rise to greater potential because of literacy and peace. People adopted civilized manners and ways due to Patrick’s influence. In Ireland, the pen was mightier than the sword. Dedicated monks labored to copy books, preserving 1200 years of civilization, recorded history, art, and literature that had been rescued from the marauders in the southern Roman cities across the channel. Here, in Ireland, the very least of nations, these works were hidden, until the day when the world knew better how to steward her wealth.

A page from the Gospel of John in the
Bible manuscript, The Book of Kells.



Many of these manuscripts are among the world’s greatest art treasures – made in Ireland. Their makers were simple people, many with wit and humor that still touch us today. Like this little poem written in the margin of a page from the Bible: the young monk copying it over by hand had a little furry friend to help him pass his time and labors:  

I and Pangur Ban my cat, ‘tis a like task we are at:

Hunting mice is his delight. Hunting words I sit all night.
‘Tis a merry thing to see, at our tasks how glad are we
When at home we sit and find, entertainment to our mind.
“Gainst the wall he sets his eye, full and fierce and sharp and sly;
“Gainst the wall of knowledge I, all my little wisdom try.
So in peace our task we ply. Pangur Ban my cat and I;
In our arts we find our bliss. I have mine and he has his.

The Irish mastered Latin, Greek, and some Hebrew, as well as their own Irish for writing down their oral literary traditions. “Wherever they went the Irish brought with them their books . . . tied to their waists as signs of triumph, just as Irish heroes had one tied to their waists their enemies’ heads. Wherever they went they brought their love of learning and their skills in bookmaking. In the bays and valleys of their exile, they re-established literacy and breathed new life into the exhausted literary culture of Europe.”

* The following works have been excerpted for this article:
Part 1 & Part 2:  St Patrick of Ireland, A Biography, by Phillip Freeman, pages xi-xiii
Part 3:  Celtic Parables, by Robert Van De Weyer, Abingdon Press, page 9
Part 4:  Patrick’s Song, by Kathryn Ross
Part 5:  Excerpted from How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill

RECOMMENDED READING:  I can’t say enough about Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization!  The historical picture he paints of a world in chaos, and how God prepared a land and a man to protect the treasure of the gospel and the literary record of mankind for future generations, has become a “spiritual landmark” for me in strengthening my faith and confidence in a God whose good will towards man cannot be thwarted by the evil in man’s heart.  

“And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”  
Romans 8:28

THANK YOU
For a glorious two years of blogging inspirations!  
Bless you all in Blogland – and, 
See you ’round the posts!
Sharing this St. Patrick’s Day post today with:
 Beverly on Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
 

About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at TheWritersReverie.com and blogs at PageantWagonPublishing.com.

Comments

  1. wow, what a post!
    congrats on your blogaversary

  2. Hi lovely lady.
    This is my first time on your blog, I love your story about Young Patrick sweet.. I am your newest follower on your two linky. I hope you will come and join my Tablescapes also. Hoping you have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day with your family.
    Diane

  3. wow, a very informational post! i enjoyed your blooming flower and history lesson. happy st patrick’s day and happy pink saturday! xo

  4. Hi lovely lady.
    Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my Tablescape for St. Patrick’s Day” I put your Give-A-way on my blog come see if you can. Just go down to my last comments. I also put your link for them.. I hope you have a wonderful day with your family.
    XXOO Diane

  5. I always love the stories of how a legend started, especially if it was started by a real person :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog this morning.

    Happy St Patrick’s Day to ye!

  6. Yeah, sign of Spring. I can’t wait to see those blooms once again.

    Hopping by from Pink Saturday.

    My PINK
    Your comment is always appreciated.

  7. ahh to have some flowers in view! Mine are store bought to tide me through the current blizzard blowing once again :))
    Great history lesson Ms Katherine! A great background to our annual celebrations – cup o’ Irish tae beside me as I write you :))
    I will add your giveaway to my sidebar and would love to find the Scotland Reading badge here as well. We’ve a great group forming on goodreads if you’re ready to throw in your ‘books’ with ours !
    HapPy St Patrick Blessings to you ~

  8. Great story, McKathy! And it’s good to see your presence in Blog Land again! Has it already been two years?? It’s been so much fun getting to know you!

    I loved this part today:

    “…God whose good will towards man cannot be thwarted by the evil in man’s heart.”

    AMEN to that!

    GOD BLESS!

  9. Good morning Kathy, I am so thankful that I went to my Pink Saturday comments and saw your comment on my post. I was too busy on Saturday to visit because my sisters and I gave a wedding shower for our great niece. So today I was blessed with your awesome story of St. Patrick. Thankful also, that I had the time to read your anniversary post. My father was Irish and he was the most delightful father anyone could ever have. He woke up singing in the morning and made us laugh at the dinner table every night. My mother would say, “Not tonight Randall” but he made her laugh too. They loved each other and we (5 girls & 1 boy) were blessed to grow up surrounded with love. We were taught to love God and to believe.
    You sparked a reminder of how blessed our family is and how much love for family and others is a huge part of our lives.

    Congratulations on two years of blogging. I am going to read your ‘Rose’ post next. I’m glad I woke up early today. Smile!

    I too am working on my tags. A joyful project.

    Jeanne, xo

  10. Hello Miss Kathy! Great read! Did not know all of the details of St. Patrick. God and the Holy Spirit amaze me everyday.

    Hope all is well! How do we enter the giveaway? Just leave a comment?

    Have a great week!

  11. Hi Kathy….. wonderful post. I love the St. Patrick story..I learnt about him at school many years ago.
    So pleased the signs of Spring are appearing in your garden.
    AND…..You do wear green well..you looked beautiful for St. Patrick’s Day..
    Hugs and Blessings
    Barb

  12. Hi Kathy…… it’s Barb again….
    I’m sorry,I forgot to congratulate you on 2 years in Blogland. I love your blog…
    Hugs
    Barb

  13. Well Miss Kathy, the dramatic storyteller within you certainly went into high gear ! What a magical post! I opened my tag today and it is just amazing and beautiful. I feel very special to have received it. Congrats on you blogging anniversary!

  14. Fascinating! This is one of my FAVORITE periods of history!! Thanks for the interesting post and wonderful photos. Hope you had a lovely St Patty’s Day :)
    Hugs
    Shawn

  15. Ooops! Congrats on your anniversary, too :)

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