The True Story of St. Patrick

 Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone! Today, I’d like to share with you the true story of how this holiday got started. Hint: It’s about a man who became known as Saint Patrick. And, even though there are legends and myths surrounding this holiday, the true story is about a man who followed Jesus Christ.

Britain, 389 A.D.
   Patrick was born in Britain to loving parents, both who became Christians due to the influence of Roman Christians who had come to the island. Britain was under Roman control at this time. In fact, the Romans controlled much of Europe. However, they could not conquer Ireland. Fierce warriors known as Celts were in control of Ireland and not even the powerful Roman army was a match for these fighters. Often, these Celts would make raids on Britain, taking booty and captives. When Patrick was about fifteen, they made a raid on his home village and took captives, including Patrick.
   Patrick was taken to Ireland and sold as a slave. He endured the hard life of a slave for six years. But God took what was meant for evil and used it for good. It was during those years of slavery that Patrick became a Christian. Even though his parents had taught him about God and prayed for him, he had never truly come to know Christ himself until now. Patrick began to pray, sometimes as many as one hundred times a day. One day, he believed God told him it was time to go back to Britain and a ship was waiting for him. So Patrick made his escape, travelling one hundred miles to the coast where he found a ship and was able to gain passage in exchange for caring for the wolfhounds on the ship. However, the ship was not headed for Britain, but Gaul, which is modern day France. After spending two years at a monastery in France, Patrick finally made it back to Britain and was reunited with his parents.
   He hadn’t been there long, though, when he had a dream. In his dream, the people of Ireland were asking him to come back and teach them about his God. As time passed, Patrick became more and more certain that God was calling him to go back to Ireland as a missionary. He spent several years training and preparing for missionary work and waiting for God’s timing to return.
   At last, he was on a ship headed for Ireland again. But this time he was going, not as a slave, but as a missionary, bringing the message of Jesus Christ to the people of Ireland. Many of the Druids (the superstitious pagans of Ireland) did not like him coming. But Patrick pressed on, enduring many difficulties, yet always preaching the gospel, speaking out against the evils of slavery, and the Druid practice of child sacrifice. God used him mightily to impact many people for the kingdom of God. He never left his beloved Ireland, finally dying there on March 17, 461, which is why we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17. His life is an example to all of us of following Jesus Christ, no matter the cost. 



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