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A History of Saint Patrick

picture of Saint PatrickSaint Patrick was born to Catholic parents about 385 in Britain. His father was a nobleman and a deacon. But Saint Patrick's privileged life came to an end at age 16 when he was captured by slave raiders from Ireland. With a large group of prisoners, Saint Patrick was transported to the then pagan island.

Sold as a slave to a king in the northeast, Saint Patrick had the lonely task of tending the pigs and sheep. In the midst of these harsh living conditions, Patrick's faith flourished as he turned to God in prayer.

After being held captive for six years, Saint Patrick heard a voice in his sleep say, "Soon you will go back to your homeland." A short time later, he heard the same voice say, "Your ship is ready."

Trusting in God, Saint Patrick set out on a 200-mile journey through unknown territory. When he arrived at the ship, the captain at first refused to take him. But Patrick prayed to God for help, and the captain changed his mind. Then began a lifetime of dedicating his life to becoming a priest. He envisioned returning to Ireland to teach the Irish about Christianity.

During his 30 years in Ireland, Saint Patrick founded more than 300 churches and baptized more than 120,000 people. Yet he still encountered much opposition, "Daily I expect either murder, robbery, or enslavement," he wrote in his Confessions. He escaped from 12 attempts on his life. Saint Patrick died a natural death on March 17, 461. Saint Patrick's burial place is Downpatrick in County Down, Northern Ireland.

By the end of the 7th century, many legends had developed about Saint Patrick. One, of course, says he charmed all the snakes in Ireland and led them to the sea to drown. Another, probably the most popular, is that Saint Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to unbelievers. This is probably why shamrocks, now Ireland's national flower, are worn by the Irish on St Patrick's Day.

"St Patrick's Breastplate"


This prayer is also sometimes called "The Deer's Cry" or "The Lorica".


I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through the confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the Judgment Day.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of demons,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.



A Bit O Blarney.com Saint Patrick's Day History and Information
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