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Patron Saint St. Patrick
 

 

 St. Patrick

"Goleen Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and St. Patrick North Wall Fourth Window Saint Patrick Detail 2009 09 10" by Andreas F. Borchert. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Goleen_Church_of_Our_Lady,_Star_of_the_Sea,_and_St._Patrick_North_Wall_Fourth_Window_Saint_Patrick_Detail_2009_09_10.jpg#/media/File:Goleen_Church_of_Our_Lady,_Star_of_the_Sea,_and_St._Patrick_North_Wall_Fourth_Window_Saint_Patrick_Detail_2009_09_10.jpg

St. Patrick was born somewhere in Europe.  He loved being outdoors.  When he was fifteen years old he was kidnapped by slave traders from the north of Ireland.  He was sold to a tribal chieftain and put to work tending flocks far off in the hills.  He was alone for long periods of time and was often hungry and cold.  He never felt bitter or sorry for himself.  Instead he spent his time praying and learning the Irish language.  During his six years as a slave, Patrick never stopped praying.  One night in a dream, Patrick heard a voice telling him to run away to a ship that was waiting for him to take him home.   The next night Patrick made his escape.  He had to walk and walk before he reached the coast.  He wasn't allowed on the ship as he had no money to pay for his voyage.  Instead he agreed to look after the sailors dogs on the ship.  Eventually Patrick made it back home to his family in England.  He was now twenty-three years old.  He decided that he wanted to become a priest.  He went to France and studied for many years.  The church leaders began thinking about sending priests to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity.  They wanted to Patrick go to Ireland.  He did not want to go back to Ireland but he had another dream where he heard the voices of the Irish begging him to come back. 

Patrick preached throughout Ireland where the word of God had never been heard before.  It was dangerous work and he was often nearly killed.  Year after year, Patrick roamed across the green hills and valleys of Ireland spreading the message of love that Jesus taught.   The people began to take his message to their heart.

One day Patrick was preaching about the Holy Trinity - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It was hard for the people to understand the idea of three people in one God, so Patrick reached down and picked up a shamrock to help explain the idea. 

When Patrick died thirty years later, churches were found throughout the Irish countryside. 

For the Irish, St. Patrick holds a special place in their hearts.  His feast day is March 17 and is celebrated with shamrocks and wearing of the green.

 
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