It is believed that St. Patrick was born in fifth-century Britain to Roman parents. When he was sixteen, he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland. There he was sold as a slave. His owner sent him to tend his flocks on the mountains. Patrick had very little food and clothing. Yet he took good care of the animals in rain, snow and ice. Patrick was so lonely on the hillside that he turned often in prayer to Jesus and his Mother Mary. His life was hard and unfair. However, Patrick's trust in God grew stronger all the time.
Later, when he escaped from Ireland, he studied to become a priest. But Patrick always felt that he had to go back to Ireland to bring that pagan land to Christ. At last his wish came true. He became a priest and then a bishop. It was while St. Celestine I was pope that Patrick went back to Ireland. How happy he was to bring the Good News of the true God to the people who once had held him a slave.
Right from the start, Patrick suffered much. His relatives and friends wanted him to quit before the pagan Irish killed him. Yet the saint kept on preaching about Jesus. He traveled from one village to another. He seldom rested, and he performed great penances for those people whom he so loved. Before he died, the whole nation was Christian.
Despite such great success, St. Patrick never grew proud. He called himself a poor sinner and gave all the praises to God. Patrick died in 461.
"How did so great and salutary a gift come to me, the gift of knowing and loving God, though at the cost of homeland and family?"