The Deacon’s Corner: St. Patrick

by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the most popular saints. He was born in Roman Britain in 387AD, and when he was about 14, he was captured by Irish pirates during a raiding party. He was taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. It was the land of Druids and pagans, but Patrick turned to God. He prayed in the woods and on the mountains, often through the night. Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was 20 when he escaped. He had a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. He found sailors who took him back to Britain, and he was reunited with his family. Years later he had a vision in which the people of Ireland cried out for him to come back and walk among them. The vision prompted his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest and later a bishop and sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland in 433AD. There are many legends and miracles surrounding him. Over 40 years of preaching, he converted thousands of people and built many churches across the country. And after years of living in poverty, traveling, and suffering, he died in 461AD. Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, with a love and total devotion and trust in God. “The Breastplate” is a poem of Patrick and of his faith in God.

Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ unguarded, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.