The True Story of St. Patrick

There are a lot of myths and legends surrounding the man who would become known as St. Patrick. Many of the stories originated after his death, and though many of the more popular legends have proven false, I find the true story of St. Patrick much more compelling.

Born with the name Maewyn Succat, late in the fourth to fifth century Britain. His father was a Roman military officer and deacon, his grandfather was a priest, but he did not profess a faith of his own. When young Maewyn was 16 years old he was taken by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland, where he toiled for 6 years. It was during those 6 years that he remembered the teachings of his youth and accepted forgiveness of his sins through faith in Christ. He tended the livestock, and would often spend time in prayer while tending the herds, growing in his faith.

After 6 years of slavery in Ireland, he heard God's voice telling him to return to Britain. So he escaped gaining passage on a ship, upon his return to Britain's shores he and a small group were stranded in the wilderness for almost a month, he prayed for food, and his party came upon a wild boar.

When he arrived in Britain he resumed his studies, but he couldn't get his dreams of the Irish begging him to come back and dwell among them. So he journeyed back to Ireland where he preached the Gospel, pointing the Irish away from their Celtic polytheism and Druidism. His ministry was a difficult one, but God used it to produce much fruit. He baptized thousands and established hundreds of churches discipling many to leadership positions in the churches he planted. But as a person outside of the citizenship of Ireland he was without legal protection from being beaten, robbed, and arrested. He refused gifts from kings, wanting to be free from their obligation and influence.

He became known as Patrick which is the English version of Patricius which is what he called himself in his writings. Many suggest that he chose this name for himself because of its connection the position of Father in church, and because he walked among the people, Patricius translates to Father of the Citizens.

There is no sound historical documentation that confirms his driving the snakes from Ireland, or the sprouting of his staff, and it is hard to say whether or not he used the 3 leafed clover as a representation of the Trinity. But he can be remembered today for his faith and suffering to bring the Good News of Christ to the Emerald Isle a place where he was once a slave, serving as one of the first missionaries to Ireland, and one of the earliest known anti-slavery advocates.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

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