Saint Patrick was born very probably in the early years of the fifth century in the Roman colony of Britain. He was taken captive at the age of sixteen and brought to Ireland where he was sold as a slave. He tended herds on Slemish mountain for six years. His captivity had a very positive effect on his spiritual life. he prayed many times each day, his faith growing stronger and his love and reverence for God increasing. He escaped back home at the age of twenty-two. It was obvious to him that God was calling him to return to convert the Irish. The voice of the Irish was calling him to come and walk among them once more. He studied probably in France, returned to Ireland as a bishop c. 457-61 or as early as 432 according to another tradition. His mission was not immediately greatly successful but eventually he would make a tremendous number of converts. Two writings survive: the Letter to Coroticus, a protest to the soldiers of a British prince who had killed some converts and sold others as slaves, and his Confession, written near the end of his life, showing him as one living by the faith he preached and allowing Christ to direct his whole life. He died in 491, though again other dates have been suggested, 480 or as early as 461.
Críost liom, Críost romham,
Críost i mo dhiaidh, Críost istigh ionam,
Críost fúm, Críost os mo chionn,
Críost ar mo lámh dheis, Críost ar mo lámh chlé,
Críost i mo luí dom, Críost i mo sheasamh dom,
Críost i gcroí gach duine atá ag cuimhneamh orm,
Críost i mbéal gach duine a labhraíonn liom,
Críost i ngach súil a fhéachann orm,
Críost i ngach cluas a éisteann liom.
Saint Patrick’s Breastplate
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ below me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,
Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my waking,
Christ in the heart of all who think of me,
Christ in the mouth of all who speak to me,
Christ in every eye that looks at me,
Christ in Every ear that listens to me.
Please click here for a video of the Deer’s Cry, which is attributed to Saint Patrick.
Statue of Saint Patrick at Lough Derg in the Diocese of Clogher.