Who Was Saint Patrick?
Besides St. Valentine and St. Nicholas, St. Patrick is one of the most revered and celebrated figures. There are many stories and versions of St. Patrick and his life, this is one story.
Patrick was born of Roman parents, Calpurmius and Conchessa, in Scotland, most likely in a place called Kilpatrick, in the year 385. It is believed that his given name was Maewyn. As a teenager, around his fourteenth year, Patrick was captured during a raiding party and sold into slavery. He was taken to Ireland as a slave to tend and herd sheep and swine.
Ireland was a land of pagans, ruled by the Druids. While in captivity, Patrick became fluent in the language and the religious practices of those that held him. After being captive for six years, Patrick escaped after having dreamt that God told him to flee by way of the coast. He fled and was returned to Britain by sailors to be reunited with his parents.
He had yet another dream at this time in which he heard the people of Ireland calling out to him, "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more." Having heard his calling, Patrick began his studies for the priesthood, finally being ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, France
On March 25, 433, Patrick once again returned to Ireland, landing in Slane, Co. Meath as an ordained bishop, having been sent by Pope Celestine, charged with teaching the gospel to the Irish people,commenced an incredible mission across Ireland, preaching and baptizing, ordaining priests throughout the country, and successfully converting many people. It was in Slane Patrick lit the first Paschal fire. Kings and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity after hearing Patrick's message. In the ensuing years, his disciples and converts began building churches and schools all over the Ireland. Patrick is known for using the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the masses, his followers would wear a shamrock on his feast day, to this day, the shamrock is a symbol associated with St. Patrick.
Patrick spread the Gospel throughout Ireland for forty years. He is credited with working many miracles and wrote of his love for God in confessions. He died on March 17, 461. St. Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love, trust and total devotion to God is a shining example for all. St. Patrick's Day was celebrated for the first time in America in 1737 in the City of Boston.