Story of St. Patrick

 

St. Patrick was born in Wales in 387. His father's name was Calpornius and his mother's name was Conchessa. He lived in a villa in the country. He was captured by a man named Niall of the Nine Hostages or as most people know him as Niall Naoi nGiallach. They took him to Ireland and sold him to a farmer who lived in Antrim.

The farmer's name was Milchu. Patrick minded sheep on a hill and sometimes he tended pigs. They say he wasn't looked after very well. Sometimes he ate the pig's swill to keep him alive. He prayed every night. Then one night he heard a voice. It was God. He was telling him he had to escape. He thought he was dreaming but God told him he wasn't. The voice said that there was a ship waiting for him in Port Laraige (Waterford). He had to walk there and that wasn't easy. He had to kill animals for food to stay alive. He survived and got there.

There was a ship waiting for him but it had a cargo of wolfhounds for France. Patrick asked the captain, "Is this boat heading for France?" The captain asked him, "Why are you in such a hurry". Then the captain said, "You're a slave and you want to escape". Patrick said, "Well actually, I am". Quickly the captain replied, "I'm not taking a slave in my boat". Patrick got off. The ship left the pier and suddenly the hounds went berzerk and they had to return quickly. They tried again and each time the hounds went mad. Patrick said, "If you let me on that boat I will make sure that the hounds will settle. The captain answered, "OK but if you're lying well throw you overboard". And surely the hounds calmed down as soon as Patrick boarded the ship. They stayed calm until they got to France. It took a longtime to get there around about six days. He was about 17 at this stage.

He got through it and eventually got back to Wales. He wasn't there long when again he heard the voice telling him to go back to Ireland to tell the Irish pagans all about Jesus. He realised then that he wanted to become a priest. It wasn't easy. He went back and started his training. He went to St.Martins Monastery in Tours, France to train. Then he went back to England. He met Pope Celestine. The Pope was very happy with him. Then Patrick told him the whole story including the voices. The Pope told him that it was definitely God. Patrick wasn't the first person to be sent to Ireland. But that person failed. His name was Pallaclius. He went to Ireland in 431.

Shortly afterwards Patrick returned to Ireland. He had some priests with him. It was Easter now. They got off the boat and headed inland. He camped at Slane. They decided they would light a fire. That night was a very special night for the Pagans. It was the beginning of growth and they were celebrating the coming of Spring. Unknown to him he had broken the law. Normally, the king, whose name was Laoghaire, would light the fire first and everybody would see it and then light theirs. Someone looked out and saw Patrick's fire and said, "Look that must be the king's fire". So they lit their fire and then everybody started lighting their fires. The king looked out and saw everybody's fire lit. He was furious. He shouted, "I didn't light my fire yet". So they went to the place where they thought the fire had started. They arrested all the foreigners including Patrick. They tried and tried and couldn't put the fire out, but only Patrick could do it because he had God on his side.

The chieftain Laoghaire didn't want to learn about God but he let Patrick speak. They were surprised how Patrick knew their language so well. Then Patrick picked up the shamrock and asked, "How many leaves are there?" They all said three. Then Patrick asked how many seeds were needed to make it. Someone said one. This is how he explained the Blessed Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The chieftain let him preach to anybody who would listen to him. A pagan priest said, "I will follow him".

He travelled up the east coast to Strangford Lough. He went ashore at Kilough in Co. Down. He went north and built a small church. He moved on to Connacht and then to Munster. He spent sixty years in Ireland. During that time he consecrated 350 Bishops to follow his ways. He died on the 17th of March 493 in Sabhall in County Down. Patrick's name comes from the name Patricius meaning Father. Most people couldn't pronounce his name properly at that time in Ireland so they originally called him Catrige.

 

By Josef Bishop, 6th class (8th grade?)

 

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