St. Patrick (March 17)
St. Patrick was born about 385 in Roman Britain. He was seized from his father's farm at age sixteen by Irish raiders who sold him into slavery in pagan Ireland. Six years later he escaped and returned to his home. His captivity, however, had a deep religious effect on him and he longed to bring his Christian faith to the Irish people. In a dream, he heard "the voice of the Irish" calling him back. Following his studies, he was ordained about the year 417. About 432 Patrick was appointed bishop and he went to Ireland to succeed Bishop Palladius. There, he was welcomed and he soon established churches throughout the country, Even though he was fiercely opposed by the pagan Druids, he was able to convert many. In Patrick's own account of his conversion and missionary life (known as the Confessio), he sees himself as a humble instrument in God's hands, given gifts of wisdom and strength to bring an alien people to the true faith. Patrick died in 461, and is the patron of Ireland.