IN THIS ISSUE
The Lives of Saints
Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, is one of the most recognized Saints in the world; yet, surprisingly little is known about the life of this remarkable man. The little we do know about his life can be found in two documents he wrote and in the legends that were passed down through Irish history, mainly by word of mouth.
Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in 389 A.D. in Roman Britain. His family was Christian and his father was a Deacon. At the age of 16, St. Patrick was kidnapped from his home and sold into the Irish slave trade. For six years, St. Patrick tended his master’s sheep in the mountains of Ireland and combated his loneliness by praying to God. Then, according to his writings, God spoke to him in a dream and told him that it was time to leave Ireland and St. Patrick was shown how to escape and return home.
Once home, St. Patrick had another dream in which an angel asked him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, St. Patrick began his religious training so he could go back to Ireland and preach the Word of God to his pagan captors and to others who were suffering.
In 433 A.D., 1,575 years ago, St. Patrick returned to Ireland as Bishop. It was on the famed Croagh Patrick where Ireland’s Patron Saint began his journey. He climbed the mountain and fasted for 40 days in preparation for his holy mission. By following Christ’s example of reaching out to the poor and downtrodden, he brought faith to the nation and beyond.
Instead of using fear, brutality, or force — abuse the Irish were used to — he approached every person with compassion, respect, and love. Familiar with the Irish language and culture, St. Patrick incorporated traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity. One of the most legendary examples of St. Patrick’s approach to teaching Christianity to the Irish, is that he used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. Unlike polytheistic pagan beliefs that included many gods, St. Patrick would explain that Christians believe in One God in Three Persons. It is said St. Patrick would hold the shamrock and ask,“Is it one leaf or three?” To which they would reply, “It is both one leaf and three.” Saint Patrick would then conclude, “And so it is with God.”
Saint Patrick was courageous and undaunted in his mission to plant the Christian Faith in Ireland. It is said that he inspired and baptized thousands including many leaders and kings of Ireland. Legend also speaks of St. Patrick enduring great sacrifice and even being imprisoned at times. Tales of his lifetime of evangelization in Ireland spread throughout Ireland and soon captured the attention of Christians throughout the world after his death, which is said to have occurred on March 17, 493.
He was canonized by the
local church, as was customary at the
time. Although, St. Patrick has never
been formally canonized by a Pope,
the Church has declared him a“Saint in Heaven.” Saint Patrick
is widely venerated in Ireland and
throughout the world. His feast day,
which is celebrated on March 17,
has become a worldwide celebration.
His popularity speaks
of the tremendous impact he had on
the people of Ireland. Today, more
than 1,500 years after his death,“The Emerald Isle,” is predominately
Christian. Furthermore, the Irish
are known today for their
tremendous devotion and faith in
God, a trait that undoubtedly stems
St. Patrick’s Breast Plate
Saint Patrick’s Breast Plate,
also known as “The Lorica” and“Cry of the Deer,” is said to have
been composed by St. Patrick,
himself. According to legend,
St. Patrick and his companion
missionaries were going to be
Christ be with me,