Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Seeing Blue On The Greenest Of Days


I believe I’ll be wearing blue the day this column arrives to print subscribers. Wait … what?! Wearing blue?! But … it’s March 17; St. Patrick’s Day, man! Even the Chicago River goes green on March 17. Green is what you wear; green it must be.

Actually, not so much, I learned, while reading up on the beloved Saint who died on March 17, 461. I found this on the Catholic Online website (, in a story featuring little-known facts about St. Patrick:

The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue, not green as commonly believed. In several artworks depicting the saint, he is shown wearing blue vestments. King Henry VIII used the Irish harp in gold on a blue flag to represent the country. Since that time, and possibly before, blue has been a popular color to represent the country on flags, coats-of-arms, and even sports jerseys.”

And this, from Wikipedia:

While green is now the usual national color of Ireland, St. Patrick's blue is still the official color of state.” I found that fascinating – especially given that the flag of Ireland is a tricolor design with vertical bars of green, white and orange.

This whole color “thing” is one example, in my opinion, of what many people believe they know about St. Patrick. Given the way the holiday has been secularized, you’d think the man lived for beer and parties.

He lived for God. That is the truth. He was not an Irish native, but was abducted in his homeland of England and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped, made his way home and became a priest. Ultimately, he returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel, converting untold numbers of pagans in the process.

One of the great legends associated with St. Patrick is that he drove all the snakes from Ireland. There are those who will suggest that the snakes in question actually were the pagans that he converted.

Another fact I rediscovered about St. Patrick when I looked into his life and history relates to shamrocks, which are truly young sprigs of white clover. I remembered learning this years ago when I read it again recently.

Given the weather we’ve enjoyed this so-called winter, I suspect you won’t have to step very far from your front door to find a shamrock just now. Do that when you can; find a shamrock and give it a good look. As you do, I suspect you will not be surprised to learn that St. Patrick found the shamrock to be a wonderful illustration of the concept of the Holy Trinity.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit … three in one. Throughout his time as a priest and bishop who preached the Gospel in Ireland, St. Patrick likely was never very far from that practically perfect botanical example of the Trinity.

After you put this issue of The Message down, here’s hoping that St. Patrick’s real legacy will remain with you. It’s not about the luck of the Irish; it’s about the reward of trusting in God.