Patrick was born into a wealthy and influential family in the 5th century. His father was from a Roman family of high rank and his mother was from a devout family. Patrick was born in Scotland and lived the life of a privileged child. When Patrick was 16 he was captured by raiders and taken from his home and sold as a slave in Ireland. His duty was to tend his master’s flock of sheep. It was during this informative time, while watching the sheep, that Patrick spent long hours in prayer and meditation. In Patrick’s own words about this time:
and His fear increased in me more and more, and the faith grew in me,and the spirit was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain; nor was there any slothfulness in me, such as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent within me.
Patrick was a slave for 6 years and during that time he became fluent in the Celtic language. Most of the people in Ireland and his master was a Druid priest, so Patrick was able to learn about that religion. He was able to make a daring escape and return to his friends and family. Patrick devoted himself to God and eventually became a priest. At the age of 46, he returned to Ireland to teach the people about God. An epic battle began between the Druids and St. Patrick and his followers. Eventually God prevailed and the king and the people of Ireland turned to God.
Until his death, Patrick continued to visit and nurture the churches in Ireland that he had founded. He comforted the faithful in their difficulties, strengthened them in their faith and appointed pastors to continue his work among them.
God does not cause bad things to happen to us, but God takes those tragic experiences and turns them to good. Patrick knew the language, the people and the nature of his ‘enemy’, the Druids. He had a deep relationship with God and a ‘fire in his soul’ to share God with others.He was the perfect person to bring God to the Irish people and God gave Patrick the courage, strength and determination to do this important work. God works with each of us, to be with us in our times of challenge and to take the experience and turn it to good.