Patrick was not Irish. In fact he came from a wealthy British family. In his mid-teens, he was captured by Irish slavers and taken to Ireland where he worked as a shepherd. He was often alone and turned to God for comfort. It is believed that it was during this time on the plush green hills of Ireland that the lad began to have visions and dreams of converting the Irish to Christianity. At the time Ireland was primarily a pagan land.
Guided by visions and dreams, Patrick was led to escape Ireland and was able to return to Britain. Soon after his return home, he again began having visions and dreams of returning to Ireland to preach the Gospel. Patrick began to study and prepare for his call to the mission field. He prepared for more than 15 years.
Against his family’s wishes Patrick returned to Ireland and lived out the rest of his days there. He died on March 17, around 460 AD.
We can learn from Saint Patrick. Rather than seeing his captors as his enemies, and as people who ruined his comfortable life, he saw them as lost and dying. His time in the fields reminded him that we are all sheep who have gone astray, and he chose to view those in the world around him in this way as well.
If you are interested in learning more about Saint Patrick, you can view videos and find out how St. Patrick’s Day came to be observed at History.com.
Top of the mornin’ to ya!