Just Who Was St. Patrick

March 15, 2024 • Rev. Rob Fuquay

Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but how did he become that? His story is an inspiring tale of courage, faith and grace. Patrick lived in the fifth century in England where he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave when he was 16. Several years later Patrick escaped and made his way to a coastal port and snuck aboard a ship going to England. He returned home where his family was steeped in the Christian faith. 

Several years later Patrick returned to Ireland to take the Christian faith to the Gaelic people. He had learned their language and culture. He knew how to communicate with them and understood their values. But what an outstanding example of courage. Can you imagine going back to people who stole you from your family, friends and home, in order to share faith with them? But that is what Patrick did. 

His success in winning the hearts of thousands of people led him to live out his days in Ireland where the people and tradition has hailed him as a saint. It is believed he died March 17, 467, which is why this Sunday is celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day.  

Now I can’t help you with where corned beef, cabbage and green beer come from. But certainly this is a great holiday to reflect on the power of a person who so trusted in Christ, that he was willing to go to people he had every reason to detest and use his understanding of them to show love and grace and win them to faith. Again, we can appreciate that the Christian faith is so much more effectively spread by example than by reproof or argument. Patrick is a great example to each of us who live in division and have reason to harbor resentment toward others. We can choose to let God send us to our enemy and do what John Wesley told Thomas Coke to do in 1767 when he set sail for America, “Offer them Christ.” 

Rev. Rob Fuquay