Saint Patrick

by Melinda

Saint Patrick (385-461)

Let us honor St. Patrick today, on March 17th.

He was born about 385 in either Dumbarton on the Clyde, or Cumberland to the south of Hadrian’s Wall in England. He was seized from his father’s farm at age sixteen by Irish raiders.

They sold him into slavery in pagan Ireland. Six years later he escaped and returned to his home.

But that experience of captivity and slavery in Ireland had a deep religious effect on him. He longed to bring his Christian faith to the Irish people. He heard the voice of the Irish calling him back in a dream.

He was ordained a Catholic priest in about 417. Approximately fifteen years later he was appointed bishop and went to Ireland to succeed Bishop Palladius. He traveled to the north and west of Ireland and was welcomed by the local Irish leaders.

Though fiercely opposed by the pagan Druids, Bishop Patrick established churches throughout the country. He also converted many Druids. In fact, he is often given credit for driving the snakes out of Ireland. It’s my understanding that the snakes symbolize driving out pagan beliefs and St. Patrick is acknowledged for bringing Christianity to the people of Ireland.

Patrick saw himself as a humble instrument in God’s hands, given gifts of wisdom and strength to bring an alien people to the true faith.

He died in 461 at Saul on Strangford Lough. He is the patron of Ireland.

Here is an Irish prayer …

Dear St. Patrick,
in your humility you called yourself a sinner,
but you became a most successful missionary
and prompted countless pagans
to follow the Savior.

Many of their descendents in turn
spread the Good News in numerous foreign lands.
Through your powerful intercession with God,
obtain the missionaries we need
to continue the work you began.
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