Patrick, bishop, missionary to Ireland

March 11, 2019

As a young man, Patrick was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. A story that begins this way seems like something out of a fairytale, but in the 400s, Irish pirates were more reality than legend. Up until this point, Patrick said that he cared little for God. In his memoir, he wrote,

"...the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountains; and I used to get up for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain, and I felt no harm, and there was no sloth in me---as I now see, because the spirit within me was then fervent."

Patrick escaped his captivity after six years, prompted by a dream from God, and returned to his family in southwest Britain. Following his ordination, Patrick returned to the land of his captivity to serve as a bishop and missionary, spreading the Gospel throughout the north of Ireland. Patrick's memoir includes a denunciation of the slave trade, perhaps from his own experience as a slave.

Listen to "I Bind Unto Myself Today" as a Lenten meditation as you recall your baptism and own journey to God.

Sources: Sundays and Seasons Year C 2019, The Confession of St. Patrick, and Catholic Online

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