St. Patrick (385 – 461 approx)

This is a child page of Clonskeagh Parish Shrines


The patron saint of Ireland, Patrick, was not born in Ireland but in what is known today as Wales, and at the age of 16 was taken into captivity to Ireland. At the time of his captivity, he ‘did not know the true God', as he says in his Confession . Christ used Patrick's captivity for a good purpose; He made Himself known to Patrick, perhaps through those long moments of minding sheep and cattle somewhere on the Irish hills.

Six years later, when he was 22, Patrick escaped from his servitude, and supposedly ran to France. There he joined a monastery and under the direction of the Bishop of France, he studied the Bible. Legend has it that while Patrick was there in the monastery, he heard angels calling him back to Ireland. After spending 12 years in the study of theology, he departed and went to Ireland to preach Christ. He spent 30 years in evangelistic and missionary work across the land. He won many converts over, healed people, and it was even said that he raised some people from the dead. Everywhere he went he announced God, and he built many schools and churches to help promote Christianity. Legend has it that angels followed him everywhere, and even told him where and how to go. After 30 years of missionary work, he died on March 17th. This is the day that has gone down in history as St. Patrick's Day. As we celebrate it each year, we can try to cultivate an awareness of Christ in our midst, in people we meet, in us wherever or whoever we are, knowing that Christ is near us, He is all around – as that is a true patrician spirit.

In the final lines of his Confession Patrick advises us not to focus overly on his significance, as much as on God who guided him. He says, “Let your conclusion and the general opinion rather be the real truth, that my success was the gift of God”.

St. Patrick's Breastplate (part) Christ be with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ deep within me,
Christ below me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left, Christ as I lie down, Christ as I arise, Christ as I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.


Most beloved Patrick, guide all the Irish towards Christ you so dearly loved and so firmly proclaimed. Renew our sense of mission in the light of the Gospel, and be our help and guide from Heaven in making Christ known in this land again. Intercede for every person coming from this island that they may always know the Father's closeness, the Spirit's comfort and Jesus' companionship. With you we plead that none of those be lost, but lead all to Heaven, through Christ our Lord. Amen.