Saint Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland, in the year 387. His parents are Calphurnius and Conchessa. When Patrick was sixteen, he was carried off into captivity by Irish marauders and was sold as a slave to a chieftan named Milchu in Dalriada. In Dalriada, he tended his master’s flocks in the valley of the Braid and on the slopes of Slemish. When he was working the fields, he acquired a perfect knowledge of the Celtic tongue.
His master was a druidical high priest, in which gave Patrick an opportunity to become familiar with all the details of Druidism from whose bondage he was destined to liberate the Irish race. Warned by an angel after six years, he fled from his cruel master and bent his steps toward the west. He traveled about 200 miles to Westport. He found a ship ready to sail and after some rebuffs was allowed on board. In a few days he arrived in Britain, but now his heart was set on devoting himself to the service of God in the sacred ministry.
After wandering in dense forest for twenty-eight days they were found by others and eventually Patrick made it home to his family. He remained with them for a few years, and then decided to pursue the priesthood in answer to dreams he had about returning to Ireland. After a number of years, while he was on a short visit to the continent, probably Gaul, his name was proposed to lead a missionary expedition to Ireland. He set out around the year 432 as a bishop, and went to the headquarters of the Ulaid in Emain Macha, and there established his first church at what is now Armagh.
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From there he traveled predominantly in the north and west and made many converts, and trained many priests. After some time, his integrity was questioned, resulting in an inquiry at the hands of the British bishops, but he was subsequently vindicated. As the Ulaid were pushed out of more and more territory, Patrick moved with them to spend his last days in Down, from which he wrote his Confession. He died March 17, 461, in Downpatrick, Ireland. Kilpatrick still retains many memorials of Saint Patrick. His feast day, St. Patrick’s Day, is March 17, or the day he died.
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