Today the church celebrates not only Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent, but The Feast of Saint Patrick. Legends abound about Patrick, but truth is best served by our seeing two solid qualities in him. He was humble and he was courageous.
At age 16, he and a large number of his father’s slaves and vassals were captured by Irish Raiders and sold as slaves in Ireland. Forced to work as a shepherd, he suffered greatly from hunger and cold. After six years, Patrick escaped and later returned to Britain at the age of 22. His captivity had meant spiritual conversion. He was consecrated bishop at the age of 43. In a dream vision, all the children of Ireland from their mother’s wombs were stretching out their hands to him.
He understood the vision to be a call to do mission work in pagan Ireland. In a relatively short time, the island had experienced deeply the Christian spirit, and was then prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe.