Tuesday, March 1, 2011

St. Patrick

St Patrick our patron saint was born about 389 near Dunbarton on the Clyde.  His father's name was Calpurnius, he was a deacon and a Municipal official.  His Mother Conchessa was a near relative of the famous St Martin of Tours.
When Patrick was about 16 he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland.  They landed on the coast of Antrim, and Patrick was sold as a slave to Milchu who was a high Druid.  Patrick was sent to look after sheep out on the mountain slopes.  What a terrible change for poor Patrick! Far away from all his loved ones in a strange land.  Patrick tells us about this time in his Confession [His Autobiography] "I did not indeed know the true God, and I was taken into captivity in Ireland and there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my faults and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, and He watched over me before I knew Him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and He protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son".  "When I was with the flock each day I used to pray many times a day.  More and more the love of God and faith increased in me.  I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill or cold because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time".
After 6 long years, Patrick escaped and after much hardship and suffering returned to his family.  After some time Patrick had a dream in which he saw the Irish people saying to him"We beg you holy youth, that you shall come and walk again among us".  Patrick was ordained priest and Bishop and returned to Ireland where he laboured until his death to bring the faith to the Irish people.  Patrick died on 17th March 461 in Saul, in Co.Down, where he had built his first church.

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