Wales, AD 385
County Down, Ireland, AD 461
Growing Closer to God:
St. Patrick was not a Christian growing up. Prior to the age of 16, he actually considered himself a pagan. Yet, after he was sold into slavery by Irish slave traders at 16, he grew closer to God through his prayers. After spending six years as a slave, he was able to escape to Gaul. He studied under St. Germain, the Bishop of Auxerre for 12 years, feeling a calling to return to Ireland in order to convert the pagans to Christianity.
After St. Palladius left Ireland to go to Scotland, Patrick was then made the second bishop to Ireland. His exceptional speaking skills made him adept at winning converts to Christianity. The Celtic Druids were upset by his ability, and arrested Patrick several times. Still, he was able to escape the Druids each time and return to his travels. He established several monasteries, churches, and schools around Ireland during the thirty years that he was able to travel around the country. He dies on March 17th, AD 461, thus the day was commemorated St. Patrick's Day.
The "Confessio" of St. Patrick:
The "Confessio" or "Confession" of St. Patrick continues to be one of the most unique records of St. Patrick's life. He discusses the things that happened in his life with a focus on his spiritual growth.
Here are some of the stories told about St. Patrick:
- It has been said that he raised people from the dead.
- Stories relay how St. Patrick's hilltop sermon drove all the snakes out of Ireland. However, there are no snakes native to Ireland, so many believe the "snakes" were just symbolic of pagans.
- He originated the symbol of the shamrock, because he used it in his sermons to represent the Holy Trinity. Each leaf represented the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and they come together to create one entity.
- St. Patrick is not truly a Saint in the Catholic tradition, as he has never been canonized by Rome.