Who Was St. Patrick?

Meet our namesake, the Apostle to the Irish.

A modest and courageous servant of the Lord, St. Patrick endured many hardships throughout his journey of faith. Born in a region of Great Britain that was controlled by the Roman Empire, his father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest.

St. Patrick

At the age of 16, St. Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and held in slavery for six years before he escaped their control. He experienced a deep spiritual conversion as a young man that eventually influenced his decision to become a Bishop many years later.

Despite opposition and fear, he answered a calling to return to Ireland to proclaim the Good News of the Lord. He travelled through the country baptizing thousands of people and ordaining priests to lead the newly formed Christian communities.

Most of what is known about him comes from his two works: the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians. St. Patrick described himself as a “most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God.”

St. Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Although only a few facts may be confirmed about his life, the Church recognizes him as the missionary responsible for spreading Christianity to the Irish people in the fifth century.