St. Patrick, A Slave Who Became A Bishop In Ireland
•Bishop •Feast day: March 17 •Born and Died: 385-461
The apostle St. Patrick of Ireland was born in Britain around 385. He was sold as a slave at the age of 17 and worked tending sheep in Ireland. He spent six years surrounded by forests and mountains, developing his faith. He was able to miraculously escape and went back home. Soon after, he received a message from some Irish people in a dream telling him to return and evangelize them.
He was dispatched as a missionary to Ireland in 431 after completing his theology studies at the monastery of Lerins. He was made a bishop the following year by Pope Celestine I. His initial assignment was in the region of the island’s north where he had once been a slave and pastured cattle. Afterwards, with the strength of his faith and the numerous miracles performed by God, he visited the entire nation, converting many pagan people. The druids, who were pagan priests, were envious of his success and sought to have him killed. At one point, he swapped seats with a charioteer who was murdered on the voyage by a spear that was meant for him. The Catholic Church was successfully established throughout Ireland after 30 years of labor and prayer.
St. Patrick offered his final blessing in 461 while standing atop Mount Aigli, the island’s tallest peak. He died soon after and was buried at Saul, where he had constructed his first church, after experiencing a vision of thousands of future Irish saints screaming out: “You are the father of us all,” after having fasted for forty days.