Saint Patrick

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world’s most popular saints. He was born in Roman Britain and when he was fourteen or so, he was captured by Irish pirates during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. At the time, Ireland was a land of Druids and pagans but Patrick turned to God and wrote his memoir, The Confession. In The Confession, he wrote:

“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britain and was reunited with his family.

A few years after returning home, Patrick saw a vision he described in his memoir:

“I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea-and they cried out, as with one voice: ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'”

The vision prompted his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years, and was later ordained a bishop and sent to take the Gospel to Ireland.

Patrick arrived in Slane, Ireland on March 25, 433. There are several legends about what happened next, with the most prominent claiming he met the chieftan of one of the druid tribes, who tried to kill him. After an intervention from God, Patrick was able to convert the chieftain and preach the Gospel throughout Ireland. There, he converted many people -eventually thousands – and he began building churches across the country.

He often used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity and entire kingdoms were eventually converted to Christianity after hearing Patrick’s message.

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first Irish church. He is believed to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick. His grave was marked in 1990 with a granite stone.

Saint Patrick, pray for us.

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4 Responses to Saint Patrick

  1. Jeff Kline says:

    Breastplate of Saint Patrick

    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 all 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
    Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
    In obedience of angels,
    In the service of archangels,
    In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
    In prayers of patriarchs,
    In predictions of prophets,
    In preaching of apostles,
    In faith of confessors,
    In innocence of holy virgins,
    In deeds of righteous men.
    I arise today
    Through the strength of heaven:
    Light of sun,
    Radiance of moon,
    Splendor of fire,
    Speed of lightning,
    Swiftness of wind,
    Depth of sea,
    Stability of earth,
    Firmness of rock.
    I arise today
    Through God’s strength to pilot me:
    God’s might to uphold me,
    God’s wisdom to guide me,
    God’s eye to look before me,
    God’s ear to hear me,
    God’s word to speak for me,
    God’s hand to guard me,
    God’s way to lie before me,
    God’s shield to protect me,
    God’s host to save me
    From snares of devils,
    From temptations of vices,
    From everyone who shall wish me ill,
    Afar and near,
    Alone and in multitude.
    I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
    Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
    Against incantations of false prophets,
    Against black laws of pagan-dom
    Against false laws of heretics,
    Against craft of idolatry,
    Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
    Against every evil idea that corrupts man’s body and soul.
    Christ to shield me today
    Against poison, against burning,
    Against drowning, against wounding,
    So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
    Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
    Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
    Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
    Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
    Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
    Christ in every eye that sees me,
    Christ in every ear that hears me.
    I arise today
    Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
    Through belief in the threeness,
    Through confession of the oneness,
    Of the Creator of all Creation.

  2. Joseph C Healy says:

    Very interesting and informative history of St. Patrick. Thanks Gary.
    Also a wonderful prayer from Jeff Kline. Very good! Thanks Jeff.

  3. Mary Thoms says:

    I did not know this story of St. Patrick. Interesting.
    Thank you for the lesson once again.

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