FEast: March 17th
Engineers, Nigeria, Ireland, snakes
Patrick was born in England, Scotland, or Wales, and his father was a deacon, though there is no indication his family was particularly religious and the position may have been held for financial benefit. When Patrick was 16, a group of Irish marauders attacked his family's home and captured him as well as much more of the family property. He was taken to Ireland where he was forced into slavery as a shepherd. He spent most of his time alone, and suffering from cold, hunger, and fear. These hardships caused him to grow in his faith. He also was exposed to the Celtic language and the practices of the Druids, which came into play for him later in life.
After more than 6 years working under the harsh conditions, Patrick had a dream that if he could make it to the coast, he would be able to escape. He walked nearly 200 miles to a port where he was able to argue his way onto a boat ready to set sail. When he reached Britain, he reportedly walked for 28 days in the wilderness, suffering from hunger, until a herd of wild boar miraculously appeared. He was then able to reunite with his family.
Patrick then possibly studied in France to achieve his Ordination to the priesthood, and became a bishop at age 43.
Patrick had a vision, however, asking him to return to Ireland and bring his faith with him.
When he arrived, most stories go that he met a Druid Chieftain who tried to kill him. When he was miraculously spared, the Chieftain converted, as well as all of his people. Patrick began to spread the faith throughout the entire country, setting up churches and ordaining priests and members of religious life. He faced many hardships from his life of traveling 40 years, and endured the backlash expected to come due to his efforts. To make things easier for the Irish to understand, he used their language and incorporated their symbols and traditions into Christian ones, such as using bonfires to celebrate Easter and using a shamrock to explain the Trinity. There have been many legends attributed to Patrick over time as well, such as the story of him banishing all the snakes from the country after they disturbed him during a 40 day session of fasting and prayer on a mountain. There is also a story of his walking stick turning into a tree by the time he finished preaching at each new location. He was likely buried in County Down, Northern Ireland.
Captured into slavery and stolen from your home, please be with all victims and survivors of slavery. Hear our prayers to end the devastating crime against humanity that is human trafficking. Be with those who are sold for any reason without having any rights and choices of their own. Help our world understand we cannot buy and sell human beings. Amen.
Patrick wears simple clothing to accommodate for his long, perilous journeys and consistent traveling. He wears a shamrock to symbolize the Trinity, and wears the green of the country he came to love and call home. He has a determined expression, but it is softened with patience and understanding.