Saint Patrick (385?-461?)
From slave to apostle, Patrick’s life is marked with mercy. Born in modern-day Great Britain, Patrick was of Romano-British origin. At sixteen years of age, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and sold as a slave in Ireland. For six years he worked as a slave shepherding. This was a time of great spiritual growth for Patrick. Inspired by a dream, Patrick fled. Patrick caught a ship that brought him to France/Gaul, and he eventually made his way back to his family. Through dreams of the people of Ireland begging for Patrick to return, God called Patrick to bring the Gospel to the land and people who had enslaved him. Being ordained a bishop, Patrick was sent as a missionary to Ireland. Though faced with a daunting task, and encountering much opposition and persecution, Patrick’s zeal and faithfulness brought about the conversion of the nation of Ireland. His love for God and neighbour led him to give to his enemies the greatest gift he could offer: knowledge of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Father in Heaven, You sent the great bishop Patrick to the people of Ireland to share his faith and to spend his life in loving service. May our lives bear witness to the faith we profess and our love bring others to the peace and joy of your Gospel.