Many stories have arisen about St. Patrick, bishop of Ireland—who was actually not Irish himself. He was, in fact, kidnapped by the Irish, escaped, and then returned to minister to them! Many of our symbols reference these stories.
The color green, of course, is the color of Ireland, but in heraldry it also stands for HOPE and JOY. White is the color of PEACE. The Celtic cross is a combination of Christ’s cross and the circle of the sun, according to most legends—perhaps introduced by Patrick. The cross divides the crest into four quadrants. The shamrock symbolizes the TRINITY—it is said this is how Patrick explained the Trinity to the people he taught and served. The staff is a bishop’s crook, which stands for the CHRISTIAN FAITH. (Patrick was, of course, a bishop). The snake refers to the legend of Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland, but since that legend is discredited, we also use its traditional symbolic meaning of WISDOM. The stag or deer represents PEACE. (In another Patrick legend, he is transformed into a deer).
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today…
Patrick House Faculty Members
Dean: Katherine Gartland