On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, paying homage to a revered and venerated saint of the Early Celtic Christian Church is appropriate, especially for me, since Patrick (Succat Morgannwg as he was once known in his native Cymru (Wales) is a Welshman. Besides all the parades to be marched and pint glasses of heady brews to be lifted to celebrate the day on which St. Patrick died, there will be another ceremony.
This commemorative event takes place in the village where St. Patrick was born, in Banwen, near Castell Nedd (Neath), in the Dulais Valley, near Abertawe (Swansea). He was the son of a prosperous merchant in a part of Wales renown for its contribution to the Industrial Revolution.
At about 16 years of age, Patrick and his sister were captured and enslaved by Irish marauders. He spent many years in Ireland as a shepherd. He escaped to his home in Cymru (Wales) and studied in Llydaw (Brittany) before being ordained and travelling to Rome. After his ordination as a bishop, he returned to Ireland to carry on his personal mission of sheltering the homeless and feeding the hungry.
A standing stone at the side of the Roman road, Sarn Helen, in Banwen commemorates the courage and bravery of this famous Cymro (Welshman), whose dedication and humility are celebrated throughout the world. A service at the site of the stone will be attended by villagers and eminent compatriots.
For more information about St. Patrick, Black Lab Books (New York) are publishing Thomas John Clark’s The Chronicles of St. Patrick in chapter-length editions. For a fictionalized story, Stephen Lawhead’s Patrick is intense and comprehensive. Below is a description of Lawhead’s book from its page on Amazon:
“Slave, soldier, lover, hero, saint,—his life mirrored the cataclysmic world into which he was born. His memory will outlast the ages.
“Born of a noble Welsh family, he is violently torn from his home by Irish raiders at age sixteen and sold as a slave to a brutal wilderness king. Rescued by the king’s druids from almost certain death, he learns the arts of healing and song, and the mystical ways of a secretive order whose teachings tantalize with hints at a deeper wisdom. Yet young Succat Morgannwg cannot rest until he sheds the strangling yoke of slavery and returns to his homeland across the sea. He pursues his dream of freedom through horrific war and shattering tragedy—through great love and greater loss—from a dying, decimated Wales to the bloody battlefields of Gaul to the fading majesty of Rome. And in the twilight of a once-supreme empire, he is transformed yet again by divine hand and a passionate vision of ‘truth against the world,’ accepting the name that will one day become legend . . . Patricius!”
And what happened to Succat’s sister?
Gwyl Padraig Hapus i bawb a llongyfarchiadau Tîm Rygbi Cymru am ennill yn erbyn Iwerddon … eto!