Maewyn Succat was born in the late 300s AD in Britain. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and kept as a slave for several years. While enslaved in northeastern Ireland, he learned the Irish language and culture before attempting to escape. His effort failed. He was captured by the French before making it back home. Eventually Succat did make it back to Britain, where in his twenties he had a vision that told him to bring Christianity to the Irish people. So he returned to Ireland, this time by choice.
At the time, the Irish people were mostly pagan, and Succat’s message was not warmly received—at least not at first. But he persevered, and he is believed to have baptized thousands of people, ordained many priests, and even converted the sons of kings to Christianity. He is given credit for forming over 300 churches in the area.
To this day, people all over the world celebrate the life of Maewyn Succat on the date of his death—March 17. Thankfully, the patron saint of Ireland didn’t particularly care for his given name, so he chose to go by Patricius. We call him St. Patrick.
The story goes that St. Patrick used the shamrock, a three leaf clover, to teach about the Christian Holy Trinity. The pagan Irish already regarded the number three very highly, so some believe his adoption of the shamrock may have helped him make some headway into Irish society. Still today, the three leaf clover is considered a proud symbol of Irish identity. But it is very common—much more so than the rare four leaf version. It is the four leaf version of the clover that is considered lucky.
It is interesting that we often associate luck with St. Patrick and his day. The story of his early life doesn’t seem all that lucky … kidnapped by Irish pirates, captured again by the French while trying to escape, all before returning to Ireland by choice only to be initially rejected. And he used the three leaf clover, not the lucky four leaf variety, in his message. But considering his rocky start, maybe luck had to be on his side for him to have the impact he eventually had on the Irish people. Or maybe he made his own luck.
Seneca, the great Roman philosopher, said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I’m a big believer in preparation, and I think St. Patrick’s early life prepared him for what was to come. In my line of work, every single day, I encourage families to prepare for anything and everything that might come next. We talk about how to be ready for the impact of age, accident, and illness. We talk about the laws that will impact the next generation at the time of death. We prepare for the high costs of long-term care so that there’s something left to pass on to the next generation.
If you are with me and believe that preparation plays a part in luck, give me a call. I enjoy nothing more than meeting like-minded individuals who want to make their own luck by being prepared for whatever comes their way. The meeting is free, but the impact for you and your family will be invaluable.