There are countless Irish saints. In fact, there’s a whole litany of them if you’re interested. But sometimes, it’s hard to keep your St Ciarán of Saighir straight from your St Ciaran of Clonmacnoise or your St Columba from your St Colman and St Columbanus.
So I thought, why not just make your own Irish saint with all the best bits together? (What could possibly go wrong?)
To help you out, here are the ten steps to creating your very own green-blooded Irish saint.
1. Pick an Irish Name for Your Saint
Let’s start with the beginning — your saint’s name. It should be authentically Irish, i.e. there should no obvious relationship between the letters and the sounds they make. To pick the spelling of your Irish saint, just bash the keyboard and then remove any letters that are not in the Irish alphabet (j, k, q, v, w, x, y, z). Put it together and Tadgh’s your uncle!
For example, my Irish saint is called St Siopaigmh. (It’s pronounced she-vee-ra obviously.)
2. Pick a Feast Day for Your Irish Saint
Next, pick a feast day for your Irish saint. My only advice is to avoid 18th March… for no particular reason.
3. Irishify Your Saint’s Icon
You also need a picture of your Irish saint. I suggest you randomly google “Eastern Orthodox saint icon”, go to Paint, stick a shamrock somewhere on there and see how it looks. Oh look, here’s one I made earlier. This is St Paraskevi, a totally legit 2nd virgin-martyr, transformed into St Siopaigmh with a shamrock in her hair! (Doesn’t green suit her?)
Now you’ve got the name, feast day and icon, you need to add some typically Irish character to your saint!
4. Create some Theological History
Your Irish saint needs to contribute to theological pop culture in some significant way. Perhaps have your Irish saint explain an ineffable divine mystery with a local weed. For example, it’s well known that St Siopaigmh explained the Hypostatic Union with peat.
5. Find a Quote for Your Irish Saint
Next, misattribute some charming, homespun rhyme to your Irish saint. The best ones have stuff about how the fields are the green, the rain is constant, the road is narrow, and you can never have too many children. If you can sneak in the spectre of impending death in there too, so much the better!
6. Give Your Irish Saint Some Powers
The most important saint powers out there are controlling a) the weather and b) finding things. Combine the two and your Irish saint can be the patron saint for finding lost weather reports or when your weather app won’t load on your phone. It’s perfect.
7. Send Out Your Saint to Evangelise
Your Irish saint should probably go on some long journey too. St Brendan sailed to North America so the stakes are high.
St Gall still has a Swiss canton (state) named after him, Saint-Gallen from the hermitage he founded there in 7th Century. I think I’ll send St Siopaigmh to Mordor…
8. Don’t Forget Some Politics for Your Irish Saint
Vaguely insinuate that your Irish saint hated the English even if they lived before “the English” even existed. This is very important. St Siopaigmh famously rejected an English suitor because he was a bloodthirsty pagan hellbent on playing cricket.
9. Embellish the Truth a Little with Your Irish Saint
Tell everyone that your Irish saint invented hurling. Why? I don’t know. An illustrious inventor is the only I think of for why the game would still be so popular. ;)
10. Check Your Irish Saint is Actually Irish
Last, but by no means least, remember to make sure your Irish saint was actually born in Ireland. No one’s quite gotten over the shock of discovering St Patrick wasn’t… Ah, you know what, who cares? Everyone’s Irish today anyway!
May God grant you a truly blessed St Patrick’s Day!
Our Lady, Queen of Ireland, pray for us.
St Patrick, pray for us.
St Brigid, pray for us.
St Colmcille, pray for us.