Optional Memorial: March 17
St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain. At the age of fourteen he was captured by Irish pirates during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd sheep. At the time, Ireland was a land of Druids and pagans but Patrick turned to God. His captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland. At the coast, sailors took him back to Britain where he was reunited with his family.
A few years later, in a vision, Patrick was directed to return to Ireland, which he would eventually do after his ordination as a priest and bishop. Arriving in Slane on March 25, 433, he met the chieftan of one of the Druid tribes, who tried to kill him. After an intervention from God, Patrick was able to convert the chieftain and preach the Gospel throughout Ireland. Over the next forty years, conversions abounded, churches arose, and Ireland was brought to the Catholic faith.
After years of living in poverty, traveling, and sacrifices, Patrick died on March 17, 461 at Saul. He is believed to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick.
"The Breastplate," Patrick's poem of trust 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 inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.