Today is the Feast of Saint Patrick! One of the best known and most beloved saints, Saint Patrick is the patron of Ireland and the subject of many stories. He was influential in evangelizing the island of Ireland and became a bishop. He was born in Britain to Roman citizens, but captured by Irish slavers. After escaping, he became a cleric and eventually returned to Ireland to continue God's work. While Saint Patrick's life is spoken of in many stories, here are a few things you probably didn't know about this incredible man:
– Though his father was a deacon and his uncle a priest, Patrick was not a believer throughout his youth. It was only after his return to Britain, surviving six years of captivity in Ireland, that Patrick became more engaged with the Church. Patrick himself described his time with the slavers as critical to his spiritual development.
– The Feast of Saint Patrick is not only a feast day and a solemnity in Ireland, but also a holy day of obligation in all Irish dioceses!
– Saint Patrick is not the only patron saint of Ireland. There are two others: Saint Brigid and Saint Columba, alongside whom Saint Patrick is said to be buried.
– Only two letters remain, both written in Latin, that were penned by Saint Patrick. One is the Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus, and the other, Confessions. Confessions is the more important of the two, as Saint Patrick briefly lays out his mission in Ireland as well as giving an account of his life.
– While Saint Patrick is primarily associated with Britain and, of course, Ireland, he actually spent a good deal of his time after escaping captivity studying in France. Patrick was a student in Auxerre and Tours, and was ordained by Saint Germanus of Auxerre in the east of France.