St. Patrick

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St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner so I thought it would be nice to learn a bit about St. Patrick…

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world’s most popular saints. He was an apostle of Ireland and born at Kilpatrick, which is near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 385. He died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland on March 17, 461.

The Story of St. Patrick
Patrick was born in the year 385, probably in Kilpatrick, Scotland. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, Romans living in Britain because they were in charge of the colonies. As a boy of fourteen or so, Patrick was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to tend and herd sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of pagans and druids. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him. During his captivity he turned to God in prayer. He wrote,
“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did faith, and my soul rose, 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 in the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”
Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was about 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 off to Britain, where he was reuinited with his family. 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 priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, 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 March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a Chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick.
Patrick converted Dichu (the Chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick. Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, 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 Patrick’s message.
Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac. 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 church.

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Shamrock

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Long ago when Ireland was a land of druids, a Christian bishop known to us now as St. Patrick came to teach the word of God. Although the origins of the shamrock are lost in antiquity, the legend suggests that St. Patrick plucked a shamrock from Irish soil to demonstrate the meaning of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The plant was reptued to have mystic powers in that its petals will stand upright to warn of an approaching storm. The shamrock remains Ireland’s most famous symbol. The shamrock is also commonly associated with the symbol of luck. In studying Celtic history, scholars have discovered that the shamrock was a charm to ward away evil.