May St. Patrick guard you wherever you go,and guide you in whatever you do– and may his loving protection be a blessing to you always.
Saint Patrick, or Naomh Padraig in Irish, was born in Scotland, and as a mere teenager when he was kidnapped from Wales by Irish brigands, raiders, and was then sold as a slave. Enslaved as a farm labor for some six years he eventually escaped and returned home, where he studied to be a priest. Saint Patrick returned some years later to the island where he was once held as a slave to be a missionary, bringing Christianity to the mostly Pagan island, sometime in the 5th century. Saint Patrick found himself enslaved, however he was able to not only overcome his struggles and the cruelty bestowed upon him, but to turn his struggle into empowerment for which he sought to help others.
Sadly today we live in a world that remains cruel, as there are some 27 million men, women and children enslaved across the globe today, many in some of the most brutal and inhumane conditions imaginable. Children forced to work as sex slaves, forcibly recruited to fight as child soldiers, made to work in hazardous mines and factories, left to toil in the fields all day, all forced to forgo their childhoods and left scared for life by their traffickers and owners.
No child should ever be a commodity, no child should ever be denied their right to an education, or left to die alone after years of torture and abuse. Thus true, while we live in a world full of slaves, and so many of those who have found freedom, as St. Patrick did have found themselves empowered and some are able to give back and now dedicate their lives to helping others to freedom....Thus while you take today to celebrate the joys of the Irish, forget not the meaning of freedom and sacrifice and look at the example that St. Patrick set-forth as he dedicated his life to others once he was free, and remember those children who have not found freedom.
Originally published on the Foreign Policy Association's blog; CHILDREN by Cassandra Clifford | on March 17th, 2011