Names Of Religious Saints

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The Saints of Ireland

In the Church of Ireland, the people do not pray to the saints of Ireland -- but rather, with the saints. Irish traditions hold that people worship God alone, but there is a consciousness about the connection with those who have departed and are now with God in heaven. The Church feels it is important to observe saint days and talk about Irish folklore because it gives Christians many examples of holiness to follow. The communion of saints remains a very important aspect of the Christian faith today, as we celebrate saints like Patrick, Columba and Brigid.

Of all the Irish saints, Saint Patrick is undoubtedly the most world renowned, which is fitting, since he is the "patron saint of Ireland." In his teenage years, Patrick was sold into slavery for six years, where he tended sheep. Upon his escape, Patrick experienced a vision that would bring him back to his homeland on a special mission. Other details of St Patrick remain unknown or have been embellished by folklore over the years. For example, there are many images of "casting the snakes out of Ireland," although there were no snakes in Ireland during the medieval period. Instead, this story is meant to be allegorical about how Saint Patrick drove the pagans (snakes) out of Ireland. Today this inspiration for Irish festivals and Irish celebrations on March 17th is credited with spreading Christianity throughout Northern Ireland and contributing to the rapid growth of the religion.

Saint Brigid of Kildare, one of three patron saints of Ireland, was one of Patrick's converts who dedicated herself to religious life as a nun, abbess and bishop. Stories of her say that she had a generous heart and could never refuse assistance to poor people who came to her door. She gave them flour, milk and jewels whenever she had the chance. It's no surprise, then, that she is the patron saint of travelers, poultry farmers, dairy workers, babies and the poor. Brigid is noted for opening some of the best convents and monasteries and chapels in Ireland. The Irish celebrate her feast day on February 1st.

There are three patron saints of Ireland; Patrick, Brigid and Columba. Though Columba got off to a rough start as an Irish exile, he is credited with converting the Picts tribe of Scotland to Christianity. During his sea travels, Irish folklore has it that Columba ran into the Loch Ness monster that killed one boatman but was ordered away by Columba, much to the amazement of his kinsmen. His impressive shrine in Iona, Scotland has become a place of pilgrimage and he is commemorated with a feast day on June 9th.

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Names Of Religious Saints


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