Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick

Today, since it's St. Patrick's Day, I had saved a biography about him we were scheduled to read...just for today. While studying the Medieval Times, we have been learning that Christianity really became prominent during that time. The Roman Catholic Church had a big role in society. The monks and nuns working in the monasteries and convents helped people who had the plague, provided food and shelter for weary travelers, and as we're learning in The Door in the Wall, may have provided homes for orphaned children. St. Patrick was just one of the recommended people we should read about, but I thought it might be fun to do this on the holiday...

While reading this story today we learned several things: (1) St. Patrick was not from Ireland, he was from Britain. His ministry was in Ireland, and he played a major part in converting that country to Christianity. (2) St. Patrick was 16 when he was captured and enslaved. He worked on a 'farm' of sorts, in Ireland, tending sheep for 6 years. It was hard work but he was not treated badly. While there, he prayed many times each day and became closer to God. When he felt God was telling him he should leave, he escaped to the seashore where a ship was waiting for him (God told him it would be there). The captain at first would not let him travel with him, but after Patrick prayed, he changed his mind and returned Patrick to his home. (3) Patrick's family did not want him to travel to Ireland, even though he felt it was God's call on his life. Patrick decided to do what he felt God was telling him to do; he spent several years in Gaul (now France) studying and preparing for his work. Even though he missed his family, he set out to spread the 'good news'. He faced many dangerous situations, was threatened, imprisoned, and enslaved again. However, he always trusted God for his protection. After 14 days, he was set free. (4) St. Patrick died on March 17, 461 (approx). He became Ireland's patron saint. The work he did continued through the monks, nuns, and priests he left behind.

A quote by St. Patrick:

"We ought to fish well and diligently as the Lord teaches, saying,'I will make you fishers of men.' We should spread our nets to take a great throng for God. Everywhere there should be clergy to baptize and exhort the poverty-stricken and needy folk."

I found this in the book Saint Patrick, written by Ann Tompert.

The story we read got its facts from Confession, a letter that St. Patrick wrote in his later years. You can read it at http://www.whatsaiththescripture.com/Stories/St.Patrick.Confession.html. Though we do not make a practice of studying 'saints' I thought this was a very interesting story, and learned some things I never learned in school, or elsewhere. I plan to go back and read The Confession in its entirety, simply because I'm interested. You should read it too, when you have the time.

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