The Proclaimed, Yet Uncanonized Saint
Eileen Renders November, 2023
Patrick was not born in Ireland but was born in Great Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the Fourth century. It is believed that he died on March 17, 460. St. Patrick became known in the 5th Century in Britain and Ireland and was probably responsible in part for the Christianization of the Picts and Anglo-Saxons. Also, Saint Patrick is known for two short works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Letter to Coroticys, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians
At the age of 16, he was taken by Irish raiders and carried into Ireland where he spent six years in slavery as a herdsman. During this time, he turned to his faith. Upon dreaming about the ship he felt would be his escape, he fled from his master and found passage back to Britain. However, once there, he suffered starvation and a second brief captivity before he was reunited with his family. Patrick shares a dream he had where Victoricus delivered a letter to him titled “The Voice of the Irish.” As he read it, he seemed to hear a certain company of Irish beseeching him to walk once more among them. He became deeply moved and could read no more. Nevertheless, because of his shortcomings in his education, he was reluctant for a long time to respond to the call.
On the eve of his embarkation for Ireland, he was beset with doubts of his fitness for the task. Once in the field, however, his hesitation vanished. Utterly confident in the Lord, he journeyed far and wide, baptizing and confirming with untiring zeal. In his diplomatic way, he often brought gifts to a kinglet, here and a lawgiver there but accepted none from any.
On one occasion he was cast into chains. And on one more occasion, he addressed with lyrical pathos a last farewell to his converts who had been slain or kidnapped by soldiers of Coroticus. He was always careful in dealing with the non-Christian Irish, he nevertheless lived in constant danger of martyrdom. St. Patrick was a humble man, zealous for God.
There is much more to learn about Saint Patrick’s life, and much can be found in the Britannica. He worked to serve God by bringing Christianity to Ireland as his love for God brought him through much suffering. Yet with all his suffering, he never backed down from what he knew God wanted him to accomplish. Unfortunately indeed in those days, he could not be canonized as a Saint. However, the Catholic church recognizes Saint Patrick as a valued Saint who risked his very life to serve God.