Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Our family loves this day! We will be making colcannon (see recipe below), along with a beef pot pie, and potato bread. The children will, of course, be making shamrocks with plenty of glitter, and rainbows. Our studies today will encompass everything from geography, the study of Ireland and Wales, to science, how a rainbow is split from white light, to the life of this saint, who endured slavery and then later came back to the place of his enslavement to set the people who enslaved him free from a religion that demanded human sacrifice as one of its tenets.

I like our Welsh-born patron saint of Ireland. He wasn't a good Christian before his capture, but adversity turned his heart to God. During his slavery, he also learned to love the common people of Ireland. These commoners were treated little better than he was in his enslavement by the druids and kings, so they were hungry for the word of God and the equality and justice offered by Christianity. Patrick was able to explain Christianity easily to the Irish by digging beneath the symbols of their nature worship to pull out the seeds of truth God planted in His creation and transform them into readily understandable symbols of Christianity. For example, they loved the shamrock, so he used it explain the mystery of the Trinity.

The Irish became powerhouses of faith for the world, sending missionaries to all parts of the world for centuries. In our modern world, we have the thousands of conversions taking place daily in Africa. I wonder, will Africa become the new wellspring of missionaries to the world?

The Celtic Cross places the Christian symbol of
Christ over the pagan symbol of the sun.

Feast Day:March 17
between 387 and 390 at Scotland
Died:between 461 and 464 at Saul, County Down, Ireland
Patron of:Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, New York, Boston, Engineers, against snakes

The field of St. Patrick's labors was the most remote part of the then known world. The seed he planted in faraway Ireland, which before his time was largely pagan, bore a rich harvest: whole colonies of saints and missionaries were to rise up after him to serve the Irish Church and to carry Christianity to other lands.

Read more:

Colcannan Recipe

5 potatoes (steamed and peeled)
1 bunch kale (washed and chopped)
1 onion chopped
1 pat of butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper (to taste)

Quarter potatoes and put them on to steam. When soft, cool and peel and then mash the potatoes. Wash kale in a sink full of cool water, swish to remove debris and dirt, then pat dry with a towel. Remove leaves from the stems (being sure not to include the thick stems which are stringy) and place them on to steam until they are wilted and soft. In a pat of butter, saute the onions in a large skillet. Add a bit of water if the onions begin to stick. Combine all ingredients in the skillet and on low heat reheat the potatoes and kale while stirring the spices, onions and kale into the potatoes. Serve warm.

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