St Patrick’s Confession

The patron saint of Ireland is St. Patrick (373-465 AD). Below is a statement by St. Patrick called "St. Patrick’s Confession"

I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned, the least of all the faithful, and utterly despised by many. My father was Calpornius, son of Potitus, a priest, of the village Bannavem Taburniæ; he had a country villa nearby, and there I was taken captive.

I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God, and I was taken into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of people.

And there the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and then turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who took pity on my youth and ignorance, and watched over me.

Every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed - the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers.

And there one night I heard in my sleep a voice saying to me: "It is well that you fast, soon you will go to your own country." And again, after a short while, I heard a voice saying to me: "See, your ship is ready."

And then I took to flight, and I left the man with whom I had stayed for six years. And I went in the strength of God who directed my way to my good, and I feared nothing until I came to that ship.

And the day I arrived, the ship was set afloat, and I said I was able to pay for my passage with them. But the captain was not pleased, and with indignation he answered harshly: `It is no use for you to ask to go along with us.'

And when I heard this, I left them. And as I went, I began to pray; and before I had ended my prayer, I heard one of them shouting behind me, `Come, hurry, we shall take you on in good faith.' And we set sail at once.

After a few years I was in Britain with my people who received me as their son, and sincerely pleaded with me that now at last, having suffered so many hardships, I should not leave them again.

While there, one night I saw a vision of a man, whose name was Victoricus, coming as it were from Ireland, with countless letters. And he gave me one of them, and I read the opening words of the letter, which were, `Vox Hibernia…The voice of the Irish'; and as I read the beginning of the letter I thought I heard their voice  -  they were beside the Wood of Foclud, which is near the Western Sea  -  and they cried out with one mouth: `We ask you, boy, come and walk among us once more.'

I was quite broken in heart, and could read no further, and so I woke up. Another night they called me most unmistakably with words which I heard but could not understand, except that at the end of the prayer He spoke: `He that laid down His life for you, it is He that speaks to you'; and so I awoke full of joy.

Why was I given such a great gift to know God and to love Him, although at the price of leaving my country and my parents?

Now, it would be tedious to give a detailed account of all my labours or even a part of them.  For I am very much God's debtor, who gave me such grace that many people were reborn in God through me.

In Ireland those who never had a knowledge of God, but until now always worshipped idols have now been made a people of the Lord, and are called sons of God.

Therefore even if I wished to leave go to Britain  - and how I would have loved to go, God knows it!, but I am bound by the Spirit, who gives evidence against me if I do this, telling me that I shall be guilty; and I am afraid of losing the labour which I have begun.

So, now I commend my soul to my faithful God, for whom I am an ambassador in all my wretchedness; but God chose me for this office.

And if ever I have done any good for my God whom I love, I beg Him to grant me that I may shed my blood with those exiles and captives for His name.

I am firmly convinced that if this should happen to me, I would have gained my soul together with my body, because on that day without doubt we shall rise in the brightness of the sun, that is, in the glory of Christ Jesus our Redeemer, as sons of the living God … for of Him, and by Him, and in Him we shall reign.

I testify in truth and in joy of heart before God and His holy angels that I never had any reason except the Gospel and its promises why I should ever return to the people from whom once before I barely escaped.

This is my confession before I die.

On R238 from Derry to Buncrana at Tooban, Burnfoot 

Fahan 

Co. Donegal 

Republic of Ireland F93 XY65