I usually try to find saints that I know nothing about, and try to expand my knowledge, but today is St. Patrick's Day and, well, I really like St. Patrick. Two of my children were baptized on his feast day, my oldest and my youngest, so he just holds a special place in my heart.
Saint Patrick was born in Britain, son of a deacon and grandson of a priest. At that point you know, he is either destined for greatness or destined to rebel against it. At the age of 16, he was captured by Irish raiders and was sold into slavery. For 6 years, he tended to flocks, as part of his servitude. During this time, he had a profound religious transformation and in the summer of 407, he was told in a dream to escape. He did and traveled around 200 miles to leave on a ship transporting Irish hounds. The ship landed in France and Patrick entered the local monastic institution and was taught, most notably, by St. Germanus of Auxerre. He had a longing, better said, as a spiritual calling to return to Ireland to help them in their faith. Patrick had very little education and was embarrassed by his lack of knowledge, but gained the essentials of faith and was familiar with scripture. Perhaps, this lack of formal education was part of what made him such an amazing missionary. Patrick was the second missionary bishop appointed to bring Christianity to Ireland. For 29 years, Patrick traveled among the 5 kingdoms of Ireland and won the conversion of nearly the entire Irish people. His main accomplishments were: promoting native clergy and integrating Christianity into the Celtic culture. As with most successful missionaries, he was simple and heart felt in his teachings, my favorite being the clover to describe the trinity.
What can I say, we all know the stories, casting the snakes out of Ireland, the clover....St. Patrick is just one of those who's life is ingrained in us. So, instead of me, trying to find a way for his life to be an example for ours, I am just going to share some of his prayer....The Breastplate of St. Patrick: