Short Stories for Teachers

St Patrick - Patron Saint of Ireland
By:Kenny Leones

Saint Patrick (390 BC - 461 BC) was a Roman-British who is famously known as one of Ireland's patron saints. He was born in Banna Venta Berniae which is at present known as Cumbria. His father was a deacon named Calpornius and his grandfather, Potitus, was a priest.

Legends were told that, while walking on a mountain, Saint Patrick miraculously sent away all snakes from the land of Ireland. Some have explained that the snakes were actually the druids who see a serpent as a symbolism of eternity and life but, in Christian beliefs, a serpent symbolizes original sin and evil.

Why Did Saint Patrick Become a Saint?

Based from his two letters that were authenticated to be actually written by him, some of the details of his life became accepted universally. At 16 years of age, he was seized and imprisoned by Irish raiders and was taken from Britain to Ireland where he was made a slave. After six years, he was able to escape through a ship and return to his family in Britain.

He then become a priest and was sent back to Ireland as the ordained bishop of the north and west parts of the country. It became Saint Patrick's main goal to have the Irish people become Christians. Although, little information is known on where he worked and what churches could be associated with him. It is believed that through Saint Patrick's efforts, the Irish people converted to Roman Catholicism. He is considered to be the founder of Catholic Church in Ireland.

From his letters, he also mentioned that he was able to baptized thousands of men, women and children. He ordained new priests to become the leaders of these new communities for Christian. He was able to convert even women from wealthy families even if the family opposed such vocation. Saint Patrick was also able to convert the sons of the Irish kings.

His letter also mentioned the problems and dangers he encountered in Ireland. As a foreigner, he described his life as not easy. Because he refused the gifts from royalty, he did not have the customary ties of fosterage, affinity and kinship. He had no special or legal protection. He also said that he had experienced being robbed, beaten and tied in chains.

At the turn of the 8th century, he was already recognized as the holy patron saint of the island. The system of the Irish monastery started evolving after Patrick's time and the Church in Ireland was unable to develop the model of the diocese that Saint Patrick and other early Christian missionaries had attempted to establish.

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