Patron of Ireland
“Saint Patrick, the Apostle of the Irish, was seized from his native Britain by Irish marauders when he was sixteen years old. Though the son of a deacon and grandson of a priest, it was not until his captivity that he sought out the Lord with his whole heart…
In his Confession, the testament he wrote towards the end of his life, he says, ‘After I came to Ireland — every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed — the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was so moved that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many at night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountain; and I would rise for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain, and I felt no harm.”
After six years of slavery in Ireland, he was guided by God to make his escape, and afterwards struggled in the monastic life in Aesir in Gaul [now France], under the guidance of the holy Bishop Germanus. Many years later he was ordained bishop and sent to Ireland once again, about the year 432, to convert the Irish to Christ. His arduous labours bore so much fruit that within seven years, three bishops were sent from Gaul to help him shepherd his flock, ‘my brethren and sons whom I have baptized in the Lord — so many thousands of people,’ he says in his Confession.
His apostolic work was not accomplished without much ‘weariness and painfulness,’ long journeys through difficult country, and many perils; he says his very life was in danger twelve times. When he came to Ireland, as its enlightener, it was a pagan country; when he ended his earthly life some thirty years later, about 461, the Faith of Christ was established in every corner.” (Great Horologion)
The work of St Patrick and his brethren has been called the most successful single missionary venture in the history of the Church.
For centuries God has bestowed miraculous help on mankind through His Saints. Although you can pray to any saint for any need, through the centuries the saints have demonstrated their special protection and guardianship over certain areas of life. These areas can include occupations, illnesses, churches, countries, causes — anything that is important to us. The earliest records show that people and churches were named after apostles and martyrs as early as the fourth century. In some cases popes and bishops have named patron saints, but patrons can be chosen by other individuals or groups as well.
Patron saints are often chosen today because an interest, talent, or event in their lives overlaps with the special area. For example, St. Francis of Assisi loved nature and so he has been named the patron of ecologists. St. Francis de Sales was a writer and so he is patron of journalists and writers. St. Clare of Assisi was named patron of television because one Christmas when she was too ill to leave her bed she saw and heard Christmas Mass — even though it was taking place miles away. Angels can also be named as patron saints. A patron saint can help us when we follow the example of that saint’s life and when we ask for that saint’s intercessory prayers to God. (more)