The Real Saint Patrick
MARCH 17, around 461 AD, St. Patrick died. As a teenager, the Roman Legions guarding his community in Britain had to be withdrawn to defend Rome, as invading heathen hordes, such as the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals and Huns, were overruning the borders. Unprotected, Britain was attacked by raiders, who carried away thousands.
Patrick was captured and sold as a slave in Ireland, which was ruled by the Druids, who practiced human sacrifice. For six years Patrick herded animals until he escaped. In his forties he had a dream calling him back to Ireland. In his Confession, Patrick wrote:
"In the depth of the night, I saw a man named Victoricus coming as if from Ireland, with innumerable letters, and he gave me one and while I was reading I thought I heard the voice of those near the western sea call out: 'Please, holy boy, come and walk among us again.' Their cry pierced my very heart, and I could read no more, and so I awoke." Patrick returned to Ireland, confronted the Druids, converted Chieftains, and used the three-leaf clover to teach the Trinity.
The Druids tried to ambush and kill Patrick nearly a dozen times: "Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promises of Heaven." Baptizing 120,000 and founding 300 churches, Saint Patrick wrote: "Patrick the sinner, an unlearned man to be sure. None should ever say that it was my ignorance that accomplished any small thing, it was the gift of God." In the next century, Irish missionaries evangelized the heathen hordes which had overrun Europe.