From the Collections

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

With St. Patrick’s Day only a few days away, we thought it would be interesting to look back and see how this day has been noted over the years at home and in the field afar. Enjoy these snippets from St. Patrick’s Day past!

Maryknoll Seminary Diary, March 1936:

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day. – Missa Cantata. We had abundant proof today that the Emerald Isle is well represented in our kitchen, when all the food that could possibly be touched with green, was so decorated. It was remarked by some that a good many, not of Irish ancestry, seemed to take a great delight in that ‘green’ cake. Are we cosmopolitan! Jackie Coogan in Peck’s Bad Boy, entertained us for an hour in the evening.”

Africa Diary, Shinyanga Center, March 1955:

March 17th was a green-letter day for Maryknoll-in-Sayusayu thanks to the boys of the Middle School who invited the Padre to a small shindig at which the smallest boy of Standard Six gave an address. Translated freely it would sound something like this: ‘We give you a toot on the horn and the flute, and a boom with the big bass drum. ‘Tis just us and our way to wish you a day that’s as green and as grand as they come.’

On St. Patrick’s Day we called on Patrisi and his wife Katerina[…] Like his great Irish Patron, Patrisi too herds his flocks on the hillsides[…] Patrisi knows all about St. Patrick using shamrock to preach on the Blessed Trinity, and he knows about St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. We gave him some shamrock which had just arrived from members of the clan in Tipperary and Derry.”

The Field Afar, March 1908: 


In a timely issue of the North China Herald, we were especially interested to note the formal celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in Shanghai. Exercises took place in a large theatre of the city and a most attractive programme was carried out, including songs, recitations and instrumental selections, recalling fine memories of the Emerald Isle.

Among the songs were ‘The Little Irish Girl,’ ‘Fr. O’Flynn,’ and ‘Come Back to Erin,’ and the recitations included one entitled ‘In Micky Flynn’s Sheneen.’ A violin solo used as its theme ‘The Dear Little Shamrock’ and the hornpipe was not omitted.”

Mexico Diary, Tepic Mission, March 1945:

“On the feast of St. Patrick one of the local clergy called to pay his respects and to stay for lunch because as he said ‘St. Patrick’s day is a great American holiday. I remember the American students in Rome always wore green on that day.’ We explained it was originally a great Irish feast day[.]”


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