Saturday, 17 March 2012

St. Patrick

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably near or in Kilpatrick, Dumbartonshire. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, Roman citizens living in Britiain in charge of the colonies. His grandfather and father were deacons in the Christian church. At the age of 16, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. During his captivity, he herded and tended sheep and learned the language and practices of the people who held him. Throughout his time as a slave, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote:

'The love of God 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 20, 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, where he was reunited with his family. Again, he had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him, 'We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.'

He began his studies for the priesthood and was later ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years. Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland on March 25, 433, and began preaching the Gospel throughout the country, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing the power of Patrick's message.

Patrick worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in a document called 'Confessions'. After years of living in extreme poverty, travelling and enduring much suffering, he died on March 17, 461. Today we celebrate his life and work.