The True Story of Saint Patrick
Come one and all, and listen to the true story of Saint Patrick, who was a very brave and courageous missionary in the face of very great danger, in very difficult times. But he didn't start out brave at all.
A Comment - This short biography of Saint Patrick is a true story, though it happened a long, long time ago. Some of the details may not be perfectly accurate, but they are the best we can find out after all these centuries.
Saint Patrick's Birth and Youth
Patrick's father and mother were Romans living in Scotland or England (or possibly France). His father was an official.
Patrick was born in the late 300's, sometime around 387. That's over 1,600 years ago.
His mother and father raised him as a Christian.
Photo of green 3-leaf clover leaves, where the shamrock comes from.
Patrick Gets a Rude Awakening
One day, when he was a happy-go-lucky teenager about 14 or 16 years old, some barbarians came over the waters and sacked and burned the town, captured Patrick, took him back in a boat to Ireland, and sold him into slavery.
Patrick worked for a very cruel master for 6 long years. He lived mostly outdoors in the heat and cold as a shepherd, taking care of sheep and goats.
He began to pray more and more to God. God gave him great wisdom, like David of old. God wanted him to learn, from taking care of animals, how to take care of people, starting with his own soul. Because later, he was going to become a missionary pastor - a shepherd of souls.
Patrick has a Dream
Ireland is an island, meaning it's a country surrounded on all sides by water.
One day, Patrick had a dream that a ship was waiting to take him back to his country. So he escaped at night from his cruel master, and walked day and night for about 200 miles to the seashore.
When he arrived, there was a boat waiting, but they didn't want to take him, as he had no money. As he was walking away, they called him back, and let him come on board.
He happily went back to his family and country.
Patrick has Another Dream
Then one day - or night - Patrick had another dream. In his dream he saw an Irish man calling him to come over and help the Irish people.
So Patrick studied for many years to become a missionary, most likely in France. He also probably visited Italy.
Saint Patrick as a Missionary to Ireland
When he was around 45 or 50 years old, Patrick returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary.
Because he had spent six years in slavery, he was able to speak to the Irish people in their own language.
The Irish people were deeply immersed in dark cultish practices. They were held in bondage by the devil and by the Druids.
Patrick preached the Christian faith to the rulers and the Druids.
At first, he met with great resistance.
Saint Patrick's Many Miracles
By the power of God, Saint Patrick performed many miracles.
- Patrick lit a great big bonfire for Easter, which was against the laws of the rulers. The Druids warned the rulers that if they did not put the fire out, Patrick's fire which spread throughout the whole kingdom. So, the rulers tried to put out his Easter bonfire, but they could not. And the Druids prophecy was fulfilled - even though they didn't like it.
- A man tried to kill him with a weapon in his hand. That hand immediately withered. It was restored when he accepted Patrick.
- A Druid raised himself up into the air by the power of the devil. Patrick prayed, and the man fell to the ground, smashed dead on the rocks.
- Some people say that Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Snakes are a symbol of the devil.
Finally the leaders allowed Patrick and his followers to preach everywhere, and many conversions followed.
There's a story about the cruel man who had enslaved Patrick for 6 years when he was a youth. He couldn't bear the thought that he might have to serve Patrick and his God, so he put all his belongings inside his house, set it on fire, and jumped in and killed himself.
The Story of Saint Patrick and the Shamrock
At first, many of the Irish people could not understand the mystery of the Trinity, how there could be 1 God in 3 persons.
To help them understand, Saint Patrick picked up a 3 leaf clover – a shamrock – and showed them how there were 3 leaves on 1 stem.
That's why we wear shamrocks on Saint Patrick's Day.
Learn more about the story and symbol of the shamrock
Saint Patrick Helps the Spread of Christianity
Saint Patrick started many, many churches in Ireland. He was so busy, he always traveled with a group of 20 - 50 or more companions to help him. He was training them as missionaries, and then he would leave them in charge of the churches he founded, and then new people would join him and travel with him. Then he would train them as well.
By God's grace, Saint Patrick and his helpers converted the entire island nation of Ireland to Christianity within a generation. Then, for centuries, Ireland sent missionaries to many other countries.
It is hard to believe the amount of work Saint Patrick - and his followers - accomplished. What is even more remarkable, is that often he would spend his entire nights in prayer, and he did a lot of fasting and penance. Part of his prayers was to pray the entire book of Psalms in the Holy Bible every day.
He became a very close friend of God – and that's one of the reasons he could accomplish so much work, and work so many miracles.
The Story of Saint Patrick and the Deer
Because Saint Patrick was doing so much good, there were people who were jealous of what he was doing.
In fact, some people hated what Patrick was doing, and wanted to get rid of Patrick and his companions.
Many times they tried to kill him, but God miraculously spared him. God protected Patrick and his followers in many ways. Sometimes Patrick was warned by God, or an angel in a dream, so he would take a different road, or go to a different place.
One time, Saint Patrick and his companions had to travel this one road. A wicked man hired a bunch of people to ambush him and his companions.
They waited all day, but didn't see anyone walking down the road.
Later, the wicked man found out that Saint Patrick and his companions had made it safely to the next town. He was angry at the people he hired for not killing Saint Patrick and his followers.
But the people he hired told him that although they waited all day long, all they saw was a large group of deer walking down the road.
God had protected Patrick and his friends by making them appear as a herd of deer.
The Holy Death of Saint Patrick
Patrick died in Ireland, having converted thousands and thousands of people to Christianity.
By his preaching and miracles, God was able to save many people from having to live as slaves to the devil, sin, and their cruel leaders. Many of the leaders were also converted.
Some people say Patrick lived to be 80 years old. Others say he lived to be 120 years old.
We do know he spent his life well and died at a ripe old age.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Thank your stars, Saint Patrick is one of them!
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