Saint Spotlight: St. Patrick


Andreas F. Borchert

stained glass depicting St. Patrick at a church in Ireland. CC BY-SA 4.0

St. Patrick was born in 5th century Britain to Roman parents. When he was around sixteen, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland where he was sold as a slave. He was to take care of flocks of sheep on the mountains, despite having very little food and clothing. He did not despair during these times and his trust in God grew even stronger. 

After six years, St. Patrick escaped Ireland after being sent a dream from God and decided to become a priest. He was ordained by St. Germanus and later was ordained a bishop. He wanted to return to Ireland to spread the faith.  Although his family and friends begged him to stop for fear of him being killed, he continued to spread the Word of God throughout Ireland for 40 years. He often used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity, which is why shamrocks are associated with St. Patrick’s Day.

Before his death, all of Ireland had been converted by him. Throughout his life, he worked many miracles, endured many hardships, and built numerous churches around Ireland. One of the most well-known stories about St. Patrick is him driving the snakes out of Ireland after plaguing him during a time of fasting. Some believe this signifies him spreading Christianity throughout Ireland and driving out pagan traditions.  He died on March 17, 461 at Saul, where he built the first Irish church. His feast day is March 17, and he is patron saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick, pray for us!