In honor of St. Patrick’s day, celebrated each year on the 17th day of March, this is most likely what his presence and mission was all about. As one can see, it has little to do with wearing green, eating corned beef and drinking beer.

  • Love of nature, a passion for the wild and the elements as a reminder of God’s gift.
  • Love and respect for art and poetry.
  • Love and respect for the great stories and higher learning.
  • Sense of God and the saints as a continuing, personal, helpful presence.
  • Theologically catholic, with particular emphasis on the Trinity, and a love and respect for Our Lady St Mary, the Incarnation of Christ and the Divine Liturgy or Holy Mass.
  • Thin boundaries between the sacred and the secular.
  • Unique Church structure: there were originally no towns, just nomadic settlements. Hence, the church was more monastic rather than diocesan, resulting in quite independent rules and liturgies.
  • Ireland was very isolated; it was hard to impose authority coming from the outside or central Roman rule.
  • Influenced much by middle-eastern and Coptic monasticism.
  • Monasteries were often large theocratic villages, mostly associated with a clan with the same kinship ties, along with slaves, freemen, celibate monks and nuns, married clergy and lay people living side by side.
  • While some monasteries were in isolated places, many more were at the crossroads of provincial territories.
  • Women had more equal footing in ancient Irish law, thus Abbesses and other nuns often had a say in church administration.
  • The idea of having a “soul friend” (anamchara) to help in spiritual direction.
  • Invented personal confession.
  • Oral word-based culture; most of the people were illiterate but had great memorization skills. They loved to hear great stories.
  • A sense of closeness and immanence between the natural and supernatural.
  • A mandate for hospitality.
  • Emphasis on family and kinship ties.