samedi 17 mars 2012

Saint PATRICE (PATRICK) d'IRLANDE, évêque, confesseur et apôtre

SAINT PATRICE

Apôtre de l'Irlande

(373-464)

Saint Patrice naquit probablement près de Boulogne-sur-Mer; on croit qu'il était le neveu de saint Martin de Tours, du côté maternel. Quoi qu'il en soit, ses parents l'élevèrent dans une haute piété. Il avait seize ans, quand il fut enlevé par des brigands et conduit providentiellement dans le pays dont il devait être l'apôtre. Patrice profita des cinq ou six ans de sa dure captivité pour apprendre la langue et les usages de l'Irlande, tout en gardant des troupeaux.

Un jour qu'il vaquait à ses occupations ordinaires, un ange lui apparut sous la forme d'un jeune homme, lui ordonnant de creuser la terre, et le jeune esclave y trouva l'argent nécessaire au rachat de sa liberté. Il passa alors en France sur un navire et se rendit au monastère de Marmoutier, où il se prépara, par l'étude, la mortification et la prière, à la mission d'évangéliser l'Irlande. Quelques années plus tard, il alla, en effet, se mettre, dans ce but, à la disposition du Pape, qui l'ordonna évêque et l'envoya dans l'île que son zèle allait bientôt transformer.

Son apostolat fut une suite de merveilles. Le roi lutte en vain contre les progrès de l'Évangile; s'il lève son épée pour fendre la tête du Saint, sa main demeure paralysée; s'il envoie des émissaires pour l'assassiner dans ses courses apostoliques, Dieu le rend invisible, et il échappe à la mort; si on présente à Patrice une coupe empoisonnée, il la brise par le signe de la Croix.

La foi se répandait comme une flamme rapide dans ce pays, qui mérita plus tard d'être appelée l'île des saints. Patrice avait peu d'auxiliaires; il était l'âme de tout ce grand mouvement chrétien; il baptisait les convertis, guérissait les malades, prêchait sans cesse, visitait les rois pour les rendre favorables à son oeuvre, ne reculant devant aucune fatigue ni aucun péril.

La prière était sa force; il y passait les nuits comme les jours. Dans la première partie de la nuit, il récitait cent psaumes et faisait en même temps deux cents génuflexions; dans la seconde partie de la nuit, il se plongeait dans l'eau glacée, le coeur, les yeux, les mains tournés vers le Ciel, jusqu'à ce qu'il eût fini les cinquante derniers psaumes.

Il ne donnait au sommeil qu'un temps très court, étendu sur le rocher, avec une pierre pour oreiller, et couvert d'un cilice, pour macérer sa chair même en dormant. Est-il étonnant qu'au nom de la Sainte Trinité, il ait ressuscité trente-trois morts et fait tant d'autres prodiges? Il mourut plus que nonagénaire, malgré ses effrayantes pénitences.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.



Saint Patrick, évêque

A 16 ans, Patrick, jeune gallois d'une famille chrétienne, est enlevé par des pirates et vendu comme esclave en Irlande. Il y passe six ans puis s'enfuit et retrouve ses parents. Après un séjour en France où il est consacré évêque, il se sent appelé à revenir dans cette Irlande de sa servitude pour l'évangéliser. Il y débarque en 432 et multiplie prédications et conversions dans une population dont, par force, il connaît bien les coutumes et la langue. Au Rock de Cashel, lors d'un sermon demeuré célèbre, il montra une feuille de trèfle : voilà la figure de la Sainte Trinité. Les figures de triades étaient familières à la religion celtique : le trèfle deviendra le symbole de l'Irlande. Lorsque meurt Patrick, à Armagh en 464, l'Irlande est chrétienne sans avoir compté un seul martyr et les monastères y sont déjà très nombreux.

SOURCE : http://www.paroisse-saint-aygulf.fr/index.php/prieres-et-liturgie/saints-par-mois/icalrepeat.detail/2015/03/17/5625/-/saint-patrick-eveque



SAINT PATRICE *

Patrice, qui vécut vers l’an du Seigneur 280, prêchait la passion, de J.-C. au roi des Scots, et comme, debout devant ce prince, il s'appuyait sur le bourdon qu'il tenait à la main et qu'il avait mis par hasard sur le pied du roi, il l’en perça avec la pointe. Or, le roi croyant que le saint évêque faisait cela volontairement et qu'il ne pouvait autrement recevoir la foi de J.-C. s'il ne souffrait ainsi, il supporta cela patiemment. Enfin le saint, s'en apercevant, en fut dans la stupeur, et par ses prières, il guérit le roi et obtint qu'aucun animal venimeux ne put vivre dans son pays. Ce ne fut pas la seule chose qu'il obtint; il y a plus : on prétend que les bois et les écorces de cette province servent de contre-poisons. Un homme avait dérobé à son voisin une brebis et l’avait mangée; le saint homme avait exhorté. le voleur, quel qu'il fut, à satisfaire pour le dommage,, et personne ne s'était présenté : au moment où tout le peuple était rassemblé à l’église, il commanda, au nom de J.-C., que la brebis poussât en présence de,tous un bêlement dans le ventre de celui qui l’avait mangée. Ce qui arriva : le coupable fit pénitence, et tous, se gardèrent bien de voler à l’avenir. Patrice avait la coutume de témoigner une profonde vénération devant toutes les croix qu'il voyait; mais ayant passé devant une grande et belle croix sans l’apercevoir; ses compagnons lui demandèrent pourquoi il ne l’avait ni vue ni saluée : il demanda à Dieu, dans ses prières à qui était cette croix et entendit une voix de dessous terre qui disait: « Ne vois-tu pas que je suis un païen qu'on a enterré ici et qui est indigne du signe de la croix? » Alors il fit enlever la croix de ce lieu.

En prêchant dans l’Irlande, saint Patrice y opérait très peu de bien ; alors il pria le Seigneur de montrer un signe qui portât les pécheurs effrayés à faire pénitence. Par l’ordre donc du Seigneur, il traça quelque part un grand cercle avec son bâton; la terre s'ouvrit dans toute la circonférence et il y apparut un puits très grand et très profond. Il fat révélé au bienheureux Patrice que c'était là le lieu du Purgatoire où quiconque voudrait descendre n'aurait plus d'autre pénitence à faire et n'aurait plus souffrir pour ses péchés un autre purgatoire : Que la plupart n'en sortiraient pas, mais que:ceux qui en reviendraient, devraient y être restés depuis un matin jusqu'à l’autre. Or ,beaucoup de ceux qui entraient n'en revenaient pas **. Longtemps après la mort de saint Patrice, un homme noble, appelé Nicolas, qui avait commis beaucoup de péchés, en, fit pénitence et voulut endurer le Purgatoire de saint Patrice. Après s'être mortifié, comme tous le faisaient, par quinze jours de jeûne, et avoir ouvert la porte avec une clef qui se gardait dans une abbaye, il descendit dans le puits en question et trouva, à son côté, une entrée par laquelle il s'avança. Il y rencontra une chapelle, où entrèrent des moines revêtus d'aubes qui y célébraient l’office. Ils dirent à Nicolas d'avoir de la constance, parce que le diable le ferait passer par bien des épreuves. Il demanda quel aide il pourrait avoir contre cela : les moines lui dirent : « Quand vous vous sentirez atteint par les peines, écriez-vous à l’instant et dites : J.-C., fils du Dieu vivant, ayez pitié de moi qui suis un pécheur. » Les moines s'étant retirés, aussitôt apparurent des démons qui lui dirent de retourner sur ses pas et de leur obéir, s'efforçant d'abord de le convaincre par ses promesses pleines de douceur, l’assurant qu'ils auront soin de lui, et qu'ils le ramèneront sain et sauf en sa maison. Mais comme il ne voulut leur obéir en rien, tout aussitôt il entendit des cris terribles poussés par différentes bêtes féroces, et des mugissements comme si tous les éléments fussent ébranlés. Alors plein d'effroi et tremblant d'une peur horrible, il eut hâte de s'écrier: « J.-C., fils du Dieu vivant, ayez pitié, de moi qui suis un pécheur. » Et à l’instant ce tumulte terrible de bêtes féroces s'apaisa, tout à fait. Il passa outre et arriva en un lieu où il trouva; une foule de démons qui lui dirent : «Penses-tu nous échapper ? Pas du tout; mais c'est l’heure où tu vas commencer à être affligé et tourmenté. » Et voici apparaître un feu énorme et terrible; alors les démons lui dirent : « Si tu ne te mets à notre disposition, nous te jetterons dans ce feu pour y brûler. » Sur son refus, ils le prirent et le jetèrent dans ce brasier affreux ; et quand il s'y sentit torturé, il s'écria de suite : « J.-C., fils... etc. » et aussitôt le feu s'éteignit. De là il vint en un endroit où il vit des hommes être brûlés vifs et flagellés parles démons avec des lames de fer rouge jusqu'au point de découvrir leurs, entrailles, tandis que d'autres, couchés à plat ventre; mordaient la terre de douleur, en criant : « Pardon! Pardon ! » et les diables les battaient plus cruellement encore. Il en vit d'autres dont les membres étaient dévorés par des serpents et auxquels des bourreaux *** arrachaient les entrailles avec des crochets enflammés. Comme Nicolas ne voulait pas céder à leurs suggestions, il fut jeté dans le même feu pour endurer de semblables supplices et il fut flagellé avec des lames pareilles et ressentit les mêmes tourments. Mais quand il se fut écrié : «J.-C., fils du Dieu vivant, etc. » il fut incontinent délivré de ces angoisses. On le conduisit ensuite en un lieu où les hommes étaient frits dans une poêle; où se trouvait une roue énorme garnie de pointes de fer ardentes sur lesquelles les hommes étaient suspendus par différentes parties du corps ; or, cette roue tournait avec une telle rapidité qu'elle jetait des étincelles. Après quoi, il vit une `immense maison où étaient creusées des fosses pleines de métaux en ébullition, dans lesquelles l’un avait un pied et l’autre deux. D'autres y étaient enfoncés jusqu'aux genoux, d'autres jusqu'au ventre, ceux-ci jusqu’à la poitrine, ceux-là jusqu'au col, quelques-uns enfin jusqu'aux yeux. Mais en parcourant ces endroits, Nicolas invoquait le nom. de Dieu. Il s'avança encore; et vit un puits très large d'où s'échappait une fumée horrible accompagnée d'une puanteur insupportable de là sortaient des hommes rouges comme du fer qui jette des étincelles; mais les démons les ressaisissaient. Et ceux-ci lui, dirent : « Ce lieu que tu vois, c'est l’enfer, qu'habite notre maître Beelzébut. Si tu ne te mets à notre disposition, nous te jetterons dans ce puits or, quand tu y auras été jeté, tu n'auras aucun moyen d'échapper. » Comme il les écoutait avec mépris, ils le saisirent et le jetèrent dans ce trou : mais il fut abîmé d'une si véhémente douleur qu'il oublia presque d'invoquer le nom du Seigneur cependant en revenant à lui : « J.-C, fils, etc.., » s'écria-t-il du fond du coeur (il n'avait plus de voix), aussitôt il en sortit sans aucun mal; et toute la multitude dés démons s'évanouit comme réellement vaincue. Il s'avança et vit en un autre endroit un pont sur lequel il devait passer. Ce pont était très étroit, poli et glissant comme une glace, au-dessous coulait un fleuve immense de soufre et de feu. Comme il désespérait absolument de pouvoir le traverser, toutefois il se rappela la parole qui l’avait délivré de tant de maux; il s'approcha avec confiance et eu posant un pied sur le pont, il se mit à dire : « J.-C., fils, etc...» Mais un cri violent l’effraya au point qu'il put à peine se soutenir; mais il récita sa prière accoutumée et il demeura rassuré ; après quoi il posa l’autre pied en réitérant les mêmes paroles et passa sans accident. Il se trouva donc dans une prairie très agréable à la vue; embaumée par l’odeur suave de différentes fleurs. Alors lui apparurent deux fort beaux jeunes gens qui le conduisirent jusqu'à une ville de magnifique apparence et merveilleusement éclatante d'or et de pierres précieuses. La porte en laissait transpirer une odeur délicieuse. Elle le délassa si bien qu'il ne paraissait avoir ressenti ni douleur ni puanteur d'aucune sorte; et les jeunes gens lui dirent que, cette ville était le paradis. Comme Nicolas voulait y entrer, ils lui dirent encore qu'il devait d'abord retourner chez ses parents ; que toutefois les démons ne lui causeraient point de mal, mais qu'à sa vue ils s'enfuiraient effrayés; que trente jours après, il mourrait en paix, et qu'alors il entrerait en cette cité comme citoyen à toujours. Nicolas monta donc par où il était descendu, se trouva sur la terre et raconta tout ce qui lui était arrivé. Trente jours après, il reposa heureusement dans le Seigneur.

* Les éditions latines que nous possédons; ne nous donnent pas l’interprétation du nom de ce saint; voici celle que nous trouvons dans une traduction française du XVe siècle :

« Patrice est dict ainsi comme saichant. Car par la voulente de nostre Seigneur, il sceut les secretz de paradis et d'enfer. »

** Thomas de Massingham a publié dans le Florilegium insulae sanctorum, seu vitae et acta sanctorum Hiberniae (Paris, 1624, in-4°) un Traité de Henri de Saltery, moine cistercien irlandais (en 1150) sur le Purgatoire de saint Patrice. Thomas de Massingham ne s'est pas contenté de donner le texte entier de cet auteur, il l’a augmenté en intercalant lies récits d'un certain nombre d'auteurs: anciens et modernes qui ont parlé du Purgatoire de saint Patrice. Il cite des livres liturgiques anciens, Mathieu Paris, Denys le Chartreux, Raoul Hygedem, Césaire d'Hirsterbach, Jean Camers, et un primat d'Irlande nommé David Rotho, ainsi que bien d'autres, qui ont écrit des relations plus ou moins étendues, ou bien encore des appréciations sur ce sujet. La Patrologie de Migne contient cet opuscule, tome CLXXX. Bellarmin parle du Purgatoire de saint Patrice dans ses controversés.

*** Bufo veut dire crapaud, Buffones au moyen âgé signifiait bouffons ; on ne saurait concevoir comment des crapauds pourraient arracher des entrailles avec des instruments aigus.

La Légende dorée de Jacques de Voragine nouvellement traduite en français avec introduction, notices, notes et recherches sur les sources par l'abbé J.-B. M. Roze, chanoine honoraire de la Cathédrale d'Amiens, Édouard Rouveyre, éditeur, 76, rue de Seine, 76, Paris mdcccci

SOURCE : http://www.abbaye-saint-benoit.ch/voragine/tome01/052.htm


Saint Patrice (Patrick), évêque et confesseur

Mort en Irlande vers 461. La date du 17 mars est attestée dans la vie de Ste Gertrude de Nivelles.

Sa fête est répandue au VIIIe siècle en Irlande, gagne l’Angleterre au Xe. C’est le Pape Urbain VIII qui l’inscrivit comme mémoire au calendrier romain en 1632, Innocent XI en fit une fête semi double en 1687, et Pie IX un double en 1859.

Leçons des Matines avant 1960

Quatrième leçon. Patrice, appelé l’Apôtre de l’Irlande, naquit dans la Grande-Bretagne ; il était fils de Calphurnius et de Conchessa, que l’on dit avoir été parente de saint Martin, Évêque de Tours. Dans sa jeunesse, il fut à plusieurs reprises emmené en captivité par les barbares, qui l’employèrent à garder les troupeaux, et dès lors il donna des indices de sa sainteté future. En effet, l’âme remplie de foi, de crainte de Dieu et d’amour, il se levait diligemment avant l’aube, pour aller, malgré la neige, la gelée et les pluies, offrir à Dieu ses prières : il avait coutume de le prier cent fois durant le jour et cent fois la nuit. Délivré de sa troisième servitude, il embrassa la cléricature, et s’appliqua longtemps à l’étude de l’Écriture sainte. Après avoir parcouru, non sans beaucoup de fatigues, les Gaules, l’Italie et les îles de la mer Tyrrhénienne, il fut divinement inspiré d’aller travailler au salut des Irlandais ; ayant reçu du Pape saint Célestin le pouvoir d’annoncer l’Évangile, il fut sacré évêque, et se rendit en Hibernie.

Cinquième leçon. Il est admirable de voir combien cet homme apostolique souffrit de tribulations dans l’accomplissement de sa mission, que de fatigues et de peines il supporta, que d’obstacles il eut à surmonter. Mais par le secours de la divine bonté, cette terre, qui auparavant adorait les idoles, porta bientôt de si heureux fruits à la prédication de Patrice, qu’elle fut dans la suite appelée l’île des Saints. Il régénéra des peuples nombreux dans les eaux saintes du baptême ; il ordonna des Évêques et un grand nombre de clercs ; il donna des règles aux vierges et aux veuves qui voulaient vivre dans la continence. Par l’autorité du Pontife romain, il établit l’Église d’Armach métropolitaine de toute l’île, et l’enrichit de saintes reliques apportées de Rome. Les visions d’en haut, le don de prophétie, de grands miracles et des prodiges dont Dieu le favorisa, jetèrent un tel éclat, que la renommée de Patrice se répandit au loin.

Sixième leçon. Malgré la sollicitude quotidienne que demandaient ses Églises, Patrice persévérait, avec une ferveur infatigable, dans une oraison continuelle. On rapporte qu’il avait coutume de réciter chaque jour tout le Psautier, avec les Cantiques et les Hymnes, et deux cents oraisons ; en outre, il adorait Dieu trois cents fois, les genoux en terre, et à chaque Heure canoniale, il se munissait cent fois du signe de la croix. Partageant la nuit en trois parties, il employait la première à réciter cent Psaumes et à faire deux cents génuflexions ; il passait la deuxième à réciter les cinquante autres Psaumes, plongé dans l’eau froide, et le cœur, les yeux, les mains élevées vers le ciel ; il consacrait la troisième à un léger repos, étendu sur la pierre nue. Plein de zèle pour la pratique de l’humilité, il travaillait de ses mains, comme avait fait l’Apôtre. Enfin, épuisé par des fatigues continuelles endurées pour l’Église, illustre par ses paroles et par ses œuvres, parvenu à une extrême vieillesse, et fortifié par les divins mystères, il s’endormit dans le Seigneur ; il fut enseveli à Down, dans l’Ultonie, au Ve siècle de l’ère chrétienne.


Franz Mayer. Saint Patrick prêchant devant les rois, vitrail, cathédrale de Carlow, Irlande


Dom Guéranger, l’Année Liturgique

C’est l’Apôtre de tout un peuple que l’Église propose aujourd’hui à nos hommages : le grand Patrice, l’illuminateur de l’Irlande, le père de ce peuple fidèle dont le martyre dure depuis trois siècles. En lui resplendit le don de l’apostolat que le Christ a déposé dans son Église, et qui doit s’y perpétuer jusqu’à la consommation des temps. Les divins envoyés du Seigneur se partagent en deux classes. Il en est qui ont reçu la charge de défricher une portion médiocre de la gentilité, et d’y répandre la semence qui germe avec plus ou moins d’abondance, selon la malice ou la docilité des hommes ; il en est d’autres dont la mission est comme une conquête rapide qui soumet à l’Évangile des nations entières Patrice appartient à cette classe d’Apôtres ; et nous devons vénérer en lui un des plus insignes monuments de la miséricorde divine envers les hommes.

Admirons aussi la solidité de son œuvre. C’est au Ve siècle, tandis que l’île des Bretons était encore presque tout entière sous les ombres du paganisme ; que la race franque n’avait pas encore entendu nommer le vrai Dieu ; que l’immense Germanie ignorait profondément la venue du Christ sur la terre, que toutes les régions du Nord dormaient dans les ténèbres de l’infidélité ; c’est avant le réveil successif de tant de peuples, que l’Hibernie reçoit la nouvelle du salut. La parole divine, apportée par le merveilleux apôtre, prospère dans cette île plus fertile encore selon la grâce que selon la nature. Les saints y abondent et se répandent sur l’Europe entière ; les enfants de l’Irlande rendent à d’autres contrées le même service que leur patrie a reçu de son sublime initiateur. Et quand arrive l’époque de la grande apostasie du XVIe siècle, quand la défection germanique est tour à tour imitée par l’Angleterre et par l’Écosse, par le Nord tout entier, l’Irlande demeure fidèle ; et aucun genre de persécution, si habile ou atroce qu’il soit, n’a pu la détacher de la sainte foi que lui enseigna Patrice.

Honorons l’homme admirable dont le Seigneur a daigné se servir pour jeter la semence dans une terre si privilégiée.

Votre vie, ô Patrice, s’est écoulée dans les pénibles travaux de l’Apostolat ; mais qu’elle a été belle, la moisson que vos mains ont semée, et qu’ont arrosée vos sueurs ! Aucune fatigue ne vous a coûté, parce qu’il s’agissait de procurer à des hommes le précieux don de la foi ; et le peuple à qui vous l’avez confié l’a gardé avec une fidélité qui fera à jamais votre gloire. Daignez prier pour nous, afin que cette foi, « sans laquelle l’homme ne peut plaire à Dieu [1] », s’empare pour jamais de nos esprits et de nos cœurs. C’est de la foi que le juste vit [2], nous dit le Prophète ; et c’est elle qui, durant ces saints jours, nous révèle les justices du Seigneur et ses miséricordes, afin que nos cœurs se convertissent et offrent au Dieu de majesté l’hommage du repentir. C’est parce que notre foi était languissante, que notre faiblesse s’effrayait des devoirs que nous impose l’Église. Si la foi domine nos pensées, nous serons aisément pénitents. Votre vie si pure, si pleine de bonnes œuvres, fut cependant une vie mortifiée ; aidez-nous à suivre de loin vos traces. Priez, ô Patrice, pour l’Ile sainte dont vous êtes le père et qui vous honore d’un culte si fervent. De nos jours, elle est menacée encore ; plusieurs de vos enfants sont devenus infidèles aux traditions de leur père. Un fléau plus dangereux que le glaive et la famine a décimé de nos jours votre troupeau ; ô Père ! Protégez les enfants des martyrs, et défendez-les de la séduction. Que votre œil aussi suive jusque sur les terres étrangères ceux qui, lassés de souffrir, sont allés chercher une patrie moins impitoyable. Qu’ils y conservent le don de la foi, qu’ils y soient les témoins de la vérité, les dociles enfants de l’Église ; que leur présence et leur séjour servent à l’avancement du Royaume de Dieu. Saint Pontife, intercédez pour cette autre Ile qui fut votre berceau ; pardonnez-lui ses crimes envers vos enfants ; avancez par vos prières le jour où elle pourra rentrer dans la grande unité catholique. Enfin souvenez-vous de toutes les provinces de l’Église ; voire prière est celle d’un Apôtre ; elle trouvera accès auprès de celui qui vous a envoyé.

[1] Heb. XI, 6.

[2] Habac. II, 4.


Bhx Cardinal Schuster, Liber Sacramentorum

Cet apôtre de l’Irlande (+ 464), à la vie si austère et si merveilleuse, sema en ces régions lointaines le grain évangélique avec un si heureux succès que, à cause de l’innombrable armée de saints qu’elle produisit, la verte Erin mérita au moyen âge le beau titre d’Ile des Saints, gloire que trois siècles de dures persécutions contre la foi catholique de la part de l’Église anglicane ne purent éclipser. En considération de la foi vigoureuse de ce peuple de héros, Pie IX, en 1859, éleva la fête de saint Patrice (qui apparaît toutefois dans les bréviaires romains dès le XVe siècle) au rite double.

Patrice peut être vraiment regardé comme le patriarche de l’épiscopat et du monachisme irlandais, monachisme dont l’histoire eut une répercussion sur toute l’Europe médiévale, partout où les Scots errants plantèrent leurs tentes et importèrent leurs traditions. Rome chrétienne a dédié, près de la voie Salaria, une église nouvelle à ce grand Apôtre des Irlandais. Mais même anciennement, l’hospice irlandais Scottorum, devenu par la suite l’abbaye SS. Trinitatis, près du Titre de Saint-Laurent in Damaso, attestait l’élan de foi et d’amour pour Rome catholique que la prédication de saint Patrice avait imprimé au sentiment religieux des Irlandais.

La messe est celle du Commun des Confesseurs Pontifes, Státuit, mais la première collecte est propre.

Si la sainteté est nécessaire à tous, elle l’est principalement aux supérieurs ecclésiastiques et à tous ceux qui, dans les desseins de la Providence, sont appelés à fonder ou à constituer une société quelconque. Ceux qui viennent par la suite doivent se garder d’en changer l’esprit et les traditions, mais pour cela, il faut que les fondateurs aient transmis à leur œuvre un feu si puissant de vie intérieure et de sainteté, que celui-ci enflamme le cœur des lointaines générations de leurs disciples. C’est en ce sens qu’on peut entendre la parole de l’apôtre, disant que ce sont les parents qui sont obligés d’amasser un patrimoine pour leurs enfants, et non pas ceux-ci pour leurs parents.


Dom Pius Parsch, le Guide dans l’année liturgique

Saint Patrice, délivrez l’île de notre âme de tous les reptiles venimeux et faites-en une véritable « île de saints ».

Saint Patrice : Jour de mort : 17 mars 464. — Tombeau : à Down, en Irlande. Image : On le représente en évêque, avec des serpents à ses pieds, ou bien avec un trèfle à trois feuilles. Vie : Saint Patrice est l’apôtre de l’Irlande. « La vie de ce grand homme, qui unissait à l’obstination celtique une profondeur étonnante de foi, est riche en événements merveilleux dont on ne peut nier le caractère historique. Ce qui est encore plus merveilleux, c’est la reconnaissance de la postérité qui a transformé la biographie du saint en entourant sa personne d’une couronne de légendes, comme on ne l’a fait que pour peu de saints. On connaît la légende d’après laquelle il aurait expulsé et fait jeter dans la mer tous les serpents et toutes les bêtes dangereuses de l’Irlande. Quoi qu’il en soit, c’est un fait qu’aujourd’hui encore, on ne trouve en Irlande ni serpents, ni taupes, ni mulots. Aussi cette légende indique sans doute que Patrice, en introduisant le christianisme, transforma aussi la culture de la terre (Kaulen). Le saint adopta l’antique usage païen d’allumer un feu sacré dans la nuit de Pâques et christianisa cet usage. Les moines irlandais l’apportèrent à Rome. De là, il se répandit dans toute l’Église sous la forme de bénédiction du feu, le Samedi-Saint.

Pratique. Le saint a fait de la verte Erin, où dominait le culte des idoles, une île des saints. Qu’il daigne continuer cette œuvre dans nos âmes !

SOURCE : http://www.introibo.fr/17-03-St-Patrice-Patrick-eveque-et#nh1


St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies. As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote:“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.” He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick’s message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.



St.Patrick’s Breastplate

I bind unto myself today

the strong Name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same,

the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation ;

his baptism in Jordan river ;

his death on cross for my salvation ;

his bursting from the spicèd tomb ;

his riding up the heavenly way;

his coming at the day of doom:

I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the powerof the great love of cherubim ;

the sweet “Well done” in judgment hour ;

the service of the seraphim ;

confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls ;

all good deeds done unto the Lord,

and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself todaythe virtues of the starlit heaventhe glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

the whiteness of the moon at even,

the flashing of the lightning free,

the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

the stable earth, the deep salt sea,

around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today

the power of God to hold and lead,

his eye to watch, his might to stay,

his ear to hearken, to my need ;

the wisdom of my God to teach

his hand to guide, his shield to ward ;

the word of God to give me speech,

his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me,

Christ within me,

Christ behind me,

Christ before me,

Christ beside me,

Christ to win me,

Christ to comfortand restore me.
Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ in quiet,

Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts ofall that love me,

Christ in mouth offriend and stranger.

I bind unto myself today

the strong Name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same,

the Three in One, and One in Three.

Of whom all nature hath creation,

eternal Father, Spirit, Word :

praise to the Lord of my salvation,

salvation is of Christ the Lord.

attributed to St. Patrick (372-466); 
trans. Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895), 1889

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/catholicprayers/st-patricks-breastplate/



St. Patrick

Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick,Ireland, 17 March, 493. Some sources say 460 or 461. --Ed.


He had for his parents Calphurnius and Conchessa. The former belonged to a Roman family of high rank and held the office of decurio in Gaul or Britain. Conchessa was a near relative of the great patron of Gaul, St. Martin of Tours. Kilpatrick still retains many memorials of Saint Patrick, and frequent pilgrimages continued far into the Middle Ages to perpetuate there the fame of his sanctity and miracles.

In his sixteenth year, Patrick was carried off into captivity by Irish marauders and was sold as a slave to a chieftan named Milchu in Dalriada, a territory of the present county of Antrim in Ireland, where for six years he tended his master's flocks in the valley of the Braid and on the slopes of Slemish, near the modern town of Ballymena. He relates in his "Confessio" that during his captivity while tending the flocks he prayed many times in the day: "the love of God", he added,

and His fear increased in me more and more, and the faith grew in me, and the spirit was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same, so that whilst in the woods and on the mountain, even before the dawn, I was roused to prayer and felt no hurt from it, whether there was snow or ice or rain; nor was there any slothfulness in me, such as I see now, because the spirit was then fervent within me.


In the ways of a benign Providence the six years of Patrick's captivity became a remote preparation for his future apostolate. He acquired a perfect knowledge of the Celtic tongue in which he would one day announce the glad tidings of Redemption, and, as his master Milchu was a druidical high priest, he became familiar with all the details of Druidism from whose bondage he was destined to liberate the Irish race.

Admonished by an angel he after six years fled from his cruel master and bent his steps towards the west. He relates in his "Confessio" that he had to travel about 200 miles; and his journey was probably towards Killala Bay and onwards thence to Westport. He found a ship ready to set sail and after some rebuffs was allowed on board. In a few days he was among his friends once more in Britain, but now his heart was set on devoting himself to the service of God in the sacred ministry. We meet with him at St. Martin's monastery at Tours, and again at the island sanctuary of Lérins which was just then acquiring widespread renown for learning and piety; and wherever lessons of heroic perfection in the exercise of Christian life could be acquired, thither the ferventPatrick was sure to bend his steps. No sooner had St. Germain entered on his great mission at Auxerre than Patrick put himself under his guidance, and it was at that great bishop's hands that Ireland's future apostle was a few years later promoted to the priesthood. It is the tradition in the territory of the Morini that Patrick under St. Germain's guidance for some years was engaged in missionary work among them. When Germaincommissioned by the Holy See proceeded to Britain to combat the erroneous teachings of Pelagius, he chose Patrick to be one of his missionary companions and thus it was his privilege to be associated with the representative of Rome in the triumphs that ensued over heresy and Paganism, and in the many remarkable events of the expedition, such as the miraculous calming of the tempest at sea, the visit to the relics at St. Alban's shrine, and the Alleluia victory. Amid all these scenes, however, Patrick's thoughts turned towardsIreland, and from time to time he was favoured with visions of the children from Focluth, by the Western sea, who cried to him: "O holy youth, come back to Erin, and walk once more amongst us."

Pope St. Celestine I, who rendered immortal service to the Church by the overthrow of the Pelagian andNestorian heresies, and by the imperishable wreath of honour decreed to the Blessed Virgin in the General Council of Ephesus, crowned his pontificate by an act of the most far-reaching consequences for the spread ofChristianity and civilization, when he entrusted St. Patrick with the mission of gathering the Irish race into theone fold of Christ. Palladius had already received that commission, but terrified by the fierce opposition of a Wicklow chieftain had abandoned the sacred enterprise. It was St. Germain, Bishop of Auxerre, who commended Patrick to the pope. The writer of St. Germain's Life in the ninth century, Heric of Auxerre, thus attests this important fact: "Since the glory of the father shines in the training of the children, of the many sons in Christ whom St. Germain is believed to have had as disciples in religion, let it suffice to make mention here, very briefly, of one most famous, Patrick, the special Apostle of the Irish nation, as the record of his work proves. Subject to that most holy discipleship for 18 years, he drank in no little knowledge in Holy Scripture from the stream of so great a well-spring. Germain sent him, accompanied by Segetius, his priest, toCelestine, Pope of Rome, approved of by whose judgement, supported by whose authority, and strengthened by whose blessing, he went on his way to Ireland." It was only shortly before his death that Celestine gave this mission to Ireland's apostle and on that occasion bestowed on him many relics and other spiritual gifts, and gave him the name "Patercius" or "Patritius", not as an honorary title, but as a foreshadowing of the fruitfulness and merit of his apostolate whereby he became pater civium (the father of his people). Patrick on his return journey from Rome received at Ivrea the tidings of the death of Palladius, and turning aside to the neighboring city of Turin received episcopal consecration at the hands of its great bishop, St. Maximus, and thence hastened on to Auxerre to make under the guidance of St. Germain due preparations for the Irish mission.

It was probably in the summer months of the year 433, that Patrick and his companions landed at the mouth of the Vantry River close by Wicklow Head. The Druids were at once in arms against him. But Patrick was not disheartened. The intrepid missionary resolved to search out a more friendly territory in which to enter on his mission. First of all, however, he would proceed towards Dalriada, where he had been a slave, to pay the price of ransom to his former master, and in exchange for the servitude and cruelty endured at his hands to impart to him the blessings and freedom of God's children. He rested for some days at the islands off the Skerries coast, one of which still retains the name of Inis-Patrick, and he probably visited the adjoining mainland, which in olden times was known as Holm Patrick. Tradition fondly points out the impression of St. Patrick's foot upon the hard rock — off the main shore, at the entrance to Skerries harbour. Continuing his course northwards he halted at the mouth of the River Boyne. A number of the natives there gathered around him and heard with joyin their own sweet tongue the glad tidings of Redemption. There too he performed his first miracle on Irish soil to confirm the honour due to the Blessed Virgin, and the Divine birth of our Saviour. Leaving one of his companions to continue the work of instruction so auspiciously begun, he hastened forward to Strangford Loughand there quitting his boat continued his journey over land towards Slemish. He had not proceeded far when a chieftain, named Dichu, appeared on the scene to prevent his further advance. He drew his sword to smite the saint, but his arm became rigid as a statue and continued so until he declared himself obedient to Patrick. Overcome by the saint's meekness and miracles, Dichu asked for instruction and made a gift of a largesabhall (barn), in which the sacred mysteries were offered up. This was the first sanctuary dedicated by St. Patrick in Erin. It became in later years a chosen retreat of the saint. A monastery and church were erected there, and the hallowed site retains the name Sabhall (pronounced Saul) to the present day. Continuing his journey towards Slemish, the saint was struck with horror on seeing at a distance the fort of his old master Milchu enveloped in flames. The fame of Patrick's marvelous power of miracles preceeded him. Milchu, in a fit of frenzy, gathered his treasures into his mansion and setting it on fire, cast himself into the flames. An ancient record adds: "His pride could not endure the thought of being vanquished by his former slave".

Returning to Saul, St. Patrick learned from Dichu that the chieftains of Erin had been summoned to celebrate a special feast at Tara by Leoghaire, who was the Ard-Righ, that is, the Supreme Monarch of Ireland. This was an opportunity which Patrick would not forego; he would present himself before the assembly, to strike a decisive blow against the Druidism that held the nation captive, and to secure freedom for the glad tidings ofRedemption of which he was the herald. As he journeyed on he rested for some days at the house of a chieftain named Secsnen, who with his household joyfully embraced the Faith. The youthful Benen, orBenignus, son of the chief, was in a special way captivated by the Gospel doctrines and the meekness of Patrick. Whilst the saint slumbered he would gather sweet-scented flowers and scatter them over his bosom, and when Patrick was setting out, continuing his journey towards Tara, Benen clung to his feet declaring that nothing would sever him from him. "Allow him to have his way", said St. Patrick to the chieftain, "he shall be heir to my sacred mission." Thenceforth Benen was the inseparable companion of the saint, and the prophecywas fulfilled, for Benen is named among the "comhards" or sucessors of St. Patrick in Armagh.

It was on 26 March, Easter Sunday, in 433, that the eventful assembly was to meet at Tara, and the decreewent forth that from the preceeding day the fires throughout the kingdom should be extinguished until the signal blaze was kindled at the royal mansion. The chiefs and Brehons came in full numbers and the druids too would muster all their strength to bid defiance to the herald of good tidings and to secure the hold of theirsuperstition on the Celtic race, for their demoniac oracles had announced that the messenger of Christ had come to Erin. St. Patrick arrived at the hill of Slane, at the opposite extremity of the valley from Tara, onEaster Eve, in that year the feast of the Annunciation, and on the summit of the hill kindled the Paschal fire. The druids at once raised their voice. "O King", (they said) "live for ever; this fire, which has been lighted in defiance of the royal edict, will blaze for ever in this land unless it be this very night extinguished." By order of the king and the agency of the druids, repeated attempts were made to extinguish the blessed fire and to punish with death the intruder who had disobeyed the royal command. But the fire was not extinguished and Patrick shielded by the Divine power came unscathed from their snares and assaults. On Easter Day the missionary band having at their head the youth Benignus bearing aloft a copy of the Gospels, and followed by St. Patrick who with mitre and crozier was arrayed in full episcopal attire, proceeded in processional order to Tara. The druids and magicians put forth all their strength and employed all their incantations to maintain their sway over the Irish race, but the prayer and faith of Patrick achieved a glorious triumph. The druids by their incantations overspread the hill and surrounding plain with a cloud of worse than Egyptian darkness. Patrick defied them to remove that cloud, and when all their efforts were made in vain, at his prayer the sun sent forth its rays and the brightest sunshine lit up the scene. Again by demoniac power the Arch-Druid Lochru, likeSimon Magus of old, was lifted up high in the air, but when Patrick knelt in prayer the druid from his flight was dashed to pieces upon a rock.

Thus was the final blow given to paganism in the presence of all the assembled chieftains. It was, indeed, a momentous day for the Irish race. Twice Patrick pleaded for the Faith before Leoghaire. The king had given orders that no sign of respect was to be extended to the strangers, but at the first meeting the youthful Erc, a royal page, arose to show him reverence; and at the second, when all the chieftains were assembled, the chief-bard Dubhtach showed the same honour to the saint. Both these heroic men became fervent disciples of the Faith and bright ornaments of the Irish Church. It was on this second solemn occasion that St. Patrick is said to have plucked a shamrock from the sward, to explain by its triple leaf and single stem, in some rough way, to the assembled chieftains, the great doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. On that bright Easter Day, the triumph of religion at Tara was complete. The Ard-Righ granted permission to Patrick to preach the Faiththroughout the length and breadth of Erin, and the druidical prophecy like the words of Balaam of old would be fulfilled: the sacred fire now kindled by the saint would never be extinguished.

The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as "St. Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
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.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

St. Patrick remained during Easter week at Slane and Tara, unfolding to those around him the lessons of Divinetruth. Meanwhile the national games were being celebrated a few miles distant at Tailten (now Telltown) in connection with the royal feast. St. Patrick proceeding thither solemnly administered baptism to Conall, brother of the Ard-Righ Leoghaire, on Wednesday, 5 April. Benen and others had already been privately gathered into the fold of Christ, but this was the first public administering of baptism, recognized by royal edict, and hence in the ancient Irish Kalendars to the fifth of April is assigned "the beginning of the Baptism of Erin". This firstChristian royal chieftain made a gift to Patrick of a site for a church which to the present day retains the name of Donagh-Patrick. The blessing of heaven was with Conall's family. St. Columba is reckoned among his descendants, and many of the kings of Ireland until the eleventh century were of his race. St. Patrick left some of his companions to carry on the work of evangelization in Meath, thus so auspiciously begun. He would himself visit the other territories. Some of the chieftains who had come to Tara were from Focluth, in the neighbourhood of Killala, in Connaught, and as it was the children of Focluth who in vision had summoned him to return to Ireland, he resolved to accompany those chieftains on their return, that thus the district of Focluth would be among the first to receive the glad tidings of Redemption. It affords a convincing proof of the difficulties that St. Patrick had to overcome, that though full liberty to preach the Faith throughout Erin was granted by the monarch of Leoghaire, nevertheless, in order to procure a safe conduct through the intervening territories whilst proceeding towards Connaught he had to pay the price of fifteen slaves. On his way thither, passing through Granard he learned that at Magh-Slecht, not far distant, a vast concourse was engaged in offering worship to the chief idol Crom-Cruach. It was a huge pillar-stone, covered with slabs of gold and silver, with a circle of twelve minor idols around it. He proceeded thither, and with his crosier smote the chiefidol that crumbled to dust; the others fell to the ground. At Killala he found the whole people of the territory assembled. At his preaching, the king and his six sons, with 12,000 of the people, became docile to the Faith. He spent seven years visiting every district of Connaught, organizing parishes, forming dioceses, and instructing the chieftains and people.

On the occasion of his first visit to Rathcrogan, the royal seat of the kings of Connaught, situated near Tulsk, in the County of Roscommon, a remarkable incident occurred, recorded in many of the authentic narratives of the saint's life. Close by the clear fountain of Clebach, not far from the royal abode, Patrick and his venerable companions had pitched their tents and at early dawn were chanting the praises of the Most High, when the two daughters of the Irish monarch — Ethne, the fair, and Fedelm, the ruddy — came thither, as was their wont, to bathe. Astonished at the vision that presented itself to them, the royal maidens cried out: "Who are ye, and whence do ye come? Are ye phantoms, or fairies, or friendly mortals?" St. Patrick said to them: "It were better you would adore and worship the one true God, whom we announce to you, than that you would satisfy your curiosity by such vain questions." And then Ethne broke forth into the questions:

"Who is God?"
"And where is God?"
"Where is His dwelling?"
"Has He sons and daughters?"
"Is He rich in silver and gold?"
"Is He everlasting? is He beautiful?"
"Are His daughters dear and lovely to the men of this world?"
"Is He on the heavens or on earth?"
"In the sea, in rivers, in mountains, in valleys?"
"Make Him known to us. How is He to be seen?"
"How is He to be loved? How is He to be found?"
"Is it in youth or is it in old age that He may be found?"
But St. Patrick, filled with the Holy Ghost, made answer:
"God, whom we announce to you, is the Ruler of all things."
"The God of heaven and earth, of the sea and the rivers."
"The God of the sun, and the moon, and all the stars."
"The God of the high mountains and of the low-lying valleys."
"The God who is above heaven, and in heaven, and under heaven."
"His dwelling is in heaven and earth, and the sea, and all therein."
"He gives breath to all."
"He gives life to all."
"He is over all."
"He upholds all."
"He gives light to the sun."
"He imparts splendour to the moon."
"He has made wells in the dry land, and islands in the ocean."
"He has appointed the stars to serve the greater lights."
"His Son is co-eternal and co-equal with Himself."
"The Son is not younger than the Father."
"And the Father is not older than the Son."
"And the Holy Ghost proceeds from them."
"The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are undivided."
"But I desire by Faith to unite you to the Heavenly King, as you are daughters of an earthly king."

The maidens, as if with one voice and one heart, said: "Teach us most carefully how we may believe in theHeavenly King; show us how we may behold Him face to face, and we will do whatsoever you shall say to us."

And when he had instructed them he said to them: "Do you believe that by baptism you put off the sininherited from the first parents."

They answered: "We believe."
"Do you believe in penance after sin?"
"We believe."
"We believe."
"Do you believe in the unity of the Church?"
"We believe."

Then they were baptized, and were clothed in white garments. And they besought that they might behold the face of Christ. And the saint said to them: "You cannot see the face of Christ unless you taste death, and unless you receive the Sacrifice." They answered: "Give us the Sacrifice, so that we may be able to behold ourSpouse." And the ancient narrative adds: "when they received the Eucharist of God, they slept in death, and they were placed upon a couch, arrayed in their white baptismal robes."

In 440 St. Patrick entered on the special work of the conversion of Ulster. Under the following year, the ancientannalists relate a wonderful spread of the Faith throughout the province. In 444 a site for a church was granted at Armagh by Daire, the chieftain of the district. It was in a valley at the foot of a hill, but the saint was not content. He had special designs in his heart for that district, and at length the chieftain told him to select in his territory any site he would deem most suitable for his religious purpose. St. Patrick chose that beautiful hill on which the old cathedral of Armagh stands. As he was marking out the church with his companions, they came upon a doe and fawn, and the saint's companions would kill them for food; but St. Patrick would not allow them to do so, and, taking the fawn upon his shoulders, and followed by the doe, he proceeded to a neighbouring hill, and laid down the fawn, and announced that there, in future times, great glory would be given to the Most High. It was precisely upon that hill thus fixed by St. Patrick that, a few years ago, there was solemnly dedicated the new and beautiful Catholic cathedral of Armagh. A representative of the Holy Seepresided on the occasion, and hundreds of priests and bishops were gathered there; and, indeed, it might truly be said, the whole Irish race on that occasion offered up that glorious cathedral to the Most High as tribute to their united faith and piety, and their never-failing love of God.

From Ulster St. Patrick probably proceeded to Meath to consolidate the organization of the communities there, and thence he continued his course through Leinster. Two of the saint's most distinguished companions, St. Auxilius and St. Iserninus, had the rich valley of the Liffey assigned to them. The former's name is still retained in the church which he founded at Killossy, while the latter is honoured as the first Bishop of Kilcullen. As usual, St. Patrick's primary care was to gather the ruling chieftains into the fold. At Naas, the royal residence in those days, he baptised two sons of the King of Leinster. Memorials of the saint still abound in the district — the ruins of the ancient church which he founded, his holy well, and the hallowed sites in which the power of God was shown forth in miracles. At Sletty, in the immediate neighborhood of Carlow, St. Fiacc, son of the chief Brehon, Dubthach, was installed as bishop, and for a considerable time that see continued to be the chief centre of religion for all Leinster. St. Patrick proceeded through Gowran into Ossory; here he erected a church under the invocation of St. Martin, near the present city of Kilkenny, and enriched it with many precious relics which he had brought from Rome. It was in Leinster, on the borders of the present counties of Kildare and Queen's, that Odhran, St. Patrick's charioteer, attained the martyr's crown. The chieftain of that district honoured the demon-idol, Crom Cruach, with special worship, and, on hearing of thatidol being cast down, vowed to avenge the insult by the death of our apostle. Passing through the territory, Odhran overheard the plot that was being organized for the murder of St. Patrick, and as they were setting out in the chariot to continue their journey, asked the saint, as a favour, to take thereins, and to allow himself, for the day, to hold the place of honour and rest. This was granted, and scarcely had they set out when a well-directed thrust of a lance pierced the heart of the devoted charioteer, who thus, by changing places, saved St. Patrick's life, and won for himself the martyr's crown.

St. Patrick next proceeded to Munster. As usual, his efforts were directed to combat error in the chief centres of authority, knowing well that, in the paths of conversion, the kings and chieftains would soon be followed by their subjects. At "Cashel of the Kings" he was received with great enthusiasm, the chiefs and Brehons and people welcoming him with joyous acclaim. While engaged in the baptism of the royal prince Aengus, son of the King of Munster, the saint, leaning on his crosier, pierced with its sharp point the prince's foot. Aengus bore the pain unmoved. When St. Patrick, at the close of the ceremony, saw the blood flow, and asked him why he had been silent, he replied, with genuine heroism, that he thought it might be part of the ceremony, a penalty for the joyous blessings of the Faith that were imparted. The saint admired his heroism, and, taking the chieftain's shield, inscribed on it a cross with the same point of the crozier, and promised that that shield would be the signal of countless spiritual and temporal triumphs.

Our apostle spent a considerable time in the present County of Limerick. The fame of his miracles and sanctityhad gone before him, and the inhabitants of Thomond and northern Munster, crossing the Shannon in their frail coracles, hastened to receive his instruction. When giving his blessing to them on the summit of the hill of Finnime, looking out on the rich plains before him, he is said to have prophesied the coming of St. Senanus: "To the green island in the West, at the mouth of the sea [i.e., Inis-Cathaigh, now Scattery Island, at the mouth of the Shannon, near Kilrush], the lamp of the people of God will come; he will be the head of counsel to all this territory." At Sangril (now Singland), in Limerick, and also in the district of Gerryowen, the holy wells of the saint are pointed out, and the slab of rock, which served for his bed, and the altar on which every day he offered up the Holy Sacrifice. On the banks of the Suit, and the Blackwater, and the Lee, wherever the saintpreached during the seven years he spent in Munster, a hearty welcome awaited him. The ancient Life attests: "After Patrick had founded cells and churches in Munster, and had ordained persons of every grade, and healed the sick, and resuscitated the dead, he bade them farewell, and imparted his blessing to them." The words of this blessing, which is said to have been given from the hills of Tipperary, as registered in the saint's Life, to which I have just referred, are particularly beautiful:

A blessing on the Munster people — 
Men, youths, and women; 
A blessing on the land 
That yields them fruit.

A blessing on every treasure 
That shall be produced on their plains, 
Without any one being in want of help, 
God's blessing be on Munster.

A blessing on their peaks, 
On their bare flagstones, 
A blessing on their glens, 
A blessing on their ridges.

Like the sand of the sea under ships, 
Be the number in their hearths; 
On slopes, on plains, 
On mountains, on hills, a blessing.

St. Patrick continued until his death to visit and watch over the churches which he had founded in all the provinces in Ireland. He comforted the faithful in their difficulties, strengthened them in the Faith and in the practice of virtue, and appointed pastors to continue his work among them. It is recorded in his Life that heconsecrated no fewer than 350 bishops. He appointed St. Loman to Trim, which rivalled Armagh itself in its abundant harvest of piety. St. Guasach, son of his former master, Milchu, became Bishop of Granard, while the two daughters of the same pagan chieftan founded close by, at Clonbroney, a convent of pious virgins, and merited the aureola of sanctity. St. Mel, nephew of our apostle, had the charge of Ardagh; St. MacCarthem, who appears to have been patricularly loved by St. Patrick, was made Bishop of Clogher. The narrative in the ancient Life of the saint regarding his visit to the district of Costello, in the County of Mayo, serves to illustrate his manner of dealing with the chieftains. He found, it says, the chief, Ernasc, and his son, Loarn, sitting under a tree, "with whom he remained, together with his twelve companions, for a week, and they received from him the doctrine of salvation with attentive ear and mind. Meanwhile he instructed Loarn in the rudiments of learning and piety." A church was erected there, and, in after years, Loarn was appointed to its charge.

The manifold virtues by which the early saints were distinguished shone forth in all their perfection in the life of St. Patrick. When not engaged in the work of the sacred ministry, his whole time was spent in prayer. Many times in the day he armed himself with the sign of the Cross. He never relaxed his penitential exercises. Clothed in a rough hair-shirt, he made the hard rock his bed. His disinterestedness is specially commemorated. Countless converts of high rank would cast their precious ornaments at his feet, but all were restored to them. He had not come to Erin in search of material wealth, but to enrich her with the priceless treasures of the Catholic Faith.

From time to time he withdrew from the spiritual duties of his apostolate to devote himself wholly to prayerand penance. One of his chosen places of solitude and retreat was the island of Lough Derg, which, to our own day, has continued to be a favourite resort of pilgrims, and it is known as St. Patrick's Purgatory. Another theatre of his miraculous power and piety and penitential austerities in the west of Ireland merits particular attention. In the far west of Connaught there is a range of tall mountains, which, arrayed in rugged majesty, bid defiance to the waves and storms of the Atlantic. At the head of this range arises a stately cone in solitary grandeur, about 4000 feet in height, facing Clew Bay, and casting its shadow over the adjoining districts of Aghagower and Westport. This mountain was known in pagan times as the Eagle Mountain, but ever sinceIreland was enlightened with the light of Faith it is known as Croagh Patrick, i.e. St. Patrick's mountain, and ishonoured as the Holy Hill, the Mount Sinai, of Ireland.

St. Patrick, in obedience to his guardian angel, made this mountain his hallowed place of retreat. In imitation of the great Jewish legislator on Sinai, he spent forty days on its summit in fasting and prayer, and otherpenitential exercises. His only shelter from the fury of the elements, the wind and rain, the hail and snow, was a cave, or recess, in the solid rock; and the flagstone on which he rested his weary limbs at night is still pointed out. The whole purpose of his prayer was to obtain special blessings and mercy for the Irish race, whom he evangelized. The demons that made Ireland their battlefield mustered all their strength to tempt thesaint and disturb him in his solitude, and turn him away, if possible, from his pious purpose. They gathered around the hill in the form of vast flocks of hideous birds of prey. So dense were their ranks that they seemed to cover the whole mountain, like a cloud, and they so filled the air that Patrick could see neither sky nor earth nor ocean. St. Patrick besought God to scatter the demons, but for a time it would seem as if his prayers and tears were in vain. At length he rang his sweet-sounding bell, symbol of his preaching of the Divine truths. Its sound was heard all over the valleys and hills of Erin, everywhere bringing peace and joy. The flocks of demonsbegan to scatter. He flung his bell among them; they took to precipitate flight, and cast themselves into the ocean. So complete was the saint's victory over them that, as the ancient narrative adds, "for seven years noevil thing was to be found in Ireland."

The saint, however, would not, as yet, descend from the mountain. He had vanquished the demons, but he would now wrestle with God Himself, like Jacob of old, to secure the spiritual interests of his people. The angelhad announced to him that, to reward his fidelity in prayer and penance, as many of his people would be gathered into heaven as would cover the land and sea as far as his vision could reach. Far more ample, however, were the aspirations of the saint, and he resolved to persevere in fasting and prayer until the fullest measure of his petition was granted. Again and again the angel came to comfort him, announcing new concessions; but all these would not suffice. He would not relinquish his post on the mountain, or relax hispenance, until all were granted. At length the message came that his prayers were heard:
  • many souls would be free from the pains of purgatory through his intercession;
  • whoever in the spirit of penance would recite his hymn before death would attain the heavenly reward;
  • barbarian hordes would never obtain sway in his Church;
  • seven years before the Judgement Day, the sea would spread over Ireland to save its people from thetemptations and terrors of the Antichrist; and
  • greatest blessing of all, Patrick himself should be deputed to judge the whole Irish race on the last day.
Such were the extraordinary favors which St. Patrick, with his wrestling with the Most High, his unceasingprayers, his unconquerable love of heavenly things, and his unremitting penitential deeds, obtained for the people whom he evangelized.

It is sometimes supposed that St. Patrick's apostolate in Ireland was an unbroken series of peaceful triumphs, and yet it was quite the reverse. No storm of persecution was, indeed stirred up to assail the infant Church, but the saint himself was subjected to frequent trials at the hands of the druids and of other enemies of theFaith. He tells us in his "Confessio" that no fewer than twelve times he and his companions were seized and carried off as captives, and on one occasion in particular he was loaded with chains, and his death wasdecreed. But from all these trials and sufferings he was liberated by a benign Providence. It is on account of the many hardships which he endured for the Faith that, in some of the ancient Martyrologies, he is honouredas a martyr.

St. Patrick, having now completed his triumph over Paganism, and gathered Ireland into the fold of Christ, prepared for the summons to his reward. St. Brigid came to him with her chosen virgins, bringing the shroud in which he would be enshrined. It is recorded that when St. Patrick and St. Brigid were united in their lastprayer, a special vision was shown to him. He saw the whole of Ireland lit up with the brightest rays of Divine Faith. This continued for centuries, and then clouds gathered around the devoted island, and, little by little, the religious glory faded away, until, in the course of centuries, it was only in the remotest valleys that some glimmer of its light remained. St. Patrick prayed that the light would never be extinguished, and, as he prayed, the angel came to him and said: "Fear not: your apostolate shall never cease." As he thus prayed, the glimmering light grew in brightness, and ceased not until once more all the hills and valleys of Ireland were lit up in their pristine splendour, and then the angel announced to St. Patrick: "Such shall be the abiding splendour of Divine truth in Ireland."

At Saul (Sabhall), St. Patrick received the summons to his reward on 17 March, 493 [See note above — Ed.]. St. Tassach administered the last sacraments to him. His remains were wrapped in the shroud woven by St. Brigid's own hands. The bishops and clergy and faithful people from all parts crowded around his remains to pay due honour to the Father of their Faith. Some of the ancient Lives record that for several days the light ofheaven shone around his bier. His remains were interred at the chieftan's Dun or Fort two miles from Saul, where in after times arose the cathedral of Down.

Writings of St. Patrick

The "Confessio" and the "Epistola ad Coroticum" are recognized by all modern critical writers as of unquestionable genuineness. The best edition, with text, translation, and critical notes, is by Rev. Dr. Whitefor the Royal Irish Academy, in 1905. The 34 canons of a synod held before the year 460 by St. Patrick, Auxilius, and Isserninus, though rejected by Todd and Haddan, have been placed by Professor Bury beyond the reach of controversy. Another series of 31 ecclesiastical canons entitled "Synodus secunda Patritii", though unquestionably of Irish origin and dating before the close of the seventh century, is generally considered to be of a later date than St. Patrick. Two tracts (in P.L., LIII), entitled "De abusionibus saeculi", and "De Tribus habitaculis", were composed by St. Patrick in Irish and translated into Latin at a later period. Passages from them are assigned to St. Patrick in the "Collectio Hibernensis Canonum", which is of unquestionable authority and dates from the year 700 (Wasserschleben, 2nd ed., 1885). This "Collectio Hibernensis" also assigns to St. Patrick the famous synodical decree: "Si quae quaestiones in hac insula oriantur, ad Sedem Apostolicam referantur." (If any difficulties arise in this island, let them be referred to the Apostolic See). The beautifulprayer, known as "Faeth Fiada", or the "Lorica of St. Patrick" (St. Patrick's Breast-Plate), first edited by Petrie in his "History of Tara", is now universally accepted as genuine. The "Dicta Sancti Patritii", or brief sayings of the saint, preserved in the "Book of Armagh", are accurately edited by Fr. Hogan, S.J., in "Documenta de S. Patritio" (Brussels, 1884). The old Irish text of "The Rule of Patrick" has been edited by O'Keeffe, and a translation by Archbishop Healy in the appendix to his Life of St. Patrick (Dublin, 1905). It is a tract of venerable antiquity, and embodies the teaching of the saint.

Sources

The Trias thaumaturga (gol., Louvain, 1647) of of the Franciscan COLGAN is the most completecollection of the ancient Lives of the saint. The Kemare Life of Saint Patrick (CUSACK, Dublin, 1869) presents from the pen of HENNESSY the translation of the Irish Tripartite Life, with copious notes. WHITLEY STOKES, in the Rolls Series (London, 1887), has given the textand translation of the Vita Tripartita, together with many original documents from the Book of Amragh and other sources. The most noteworthy works of later years are SHEARMAN, Loca Patriciana (Dublin, 1879); TODD, St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland (Dublin, 1864); BURY, Life of St. Patrick (London, 1905); HEALY, The Life and Writings of St. Patrick (Dublin, 1905).

Moran, Patrick Francis Cardinal. "St. Patrick." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company,1911. 16 Mar. 2016 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11554a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Mary Doorley.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11554a.htm


ST. PATRICK, BISHOP, APOSTLE OF IRELAND.

IF the virtue of children reflects an honor on their parents, much more justly is the name of St. Patrick rendered illustrious by the innumerable lights of sanctity with which the Church of Ireland shone during many ages, and by the colonies of Saints with which it peopled many foreign countries; for, under God, its inhabitants derived from their glorious apostle the streams of that eminent sanctity by which they were long conspicuous to the whole world. St. Patrick was born towards the close of the fourth century, in a village called Bonaven Taberniae, which seems to be the town of Kilpatrick, on the mouth of the river Clyde, in Scotland, between Dumbarton and Glasgow. He calls himself both a Briton and a Roman, or of a mixed extraction, and says his father was of a good family named Calphurnius, and a denizen of a neighboring city of the Romans, who not long after abandoned Britain, in 409. Some writers call his mother Conchessa, and say she was niece to St. Martin of Tours.

In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by certain barbarians who took him into Ireland, where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snows, rain, and ice. Whilst he lived in this suffering condition, God had pity on his soul, and quickened him to a sense of his duty by the impulse of a strong interior grace. The young man had recourse to Him with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting; and from that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new strength in his tender soul. After six months spent in slavery under the same master, St. Patrick was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He went at once to the sea coast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel; but could not obtain his passage, probably for want of money. The Saint returned towards his hut, praying as he went, but the sailors, though pagans, called him back, and took him on board. After three days sail they made land, but wandered twenty-seven days through deserts, and were a long while distressed for want of provisions, finding nothing to eat. Patrick had often spoken to the company on the infinite power of God, they therefore asked him why he did not pray for relief. Animated by a strong faith, he assured them that if they would address themselves with their whole hearts to the true God, He would hear and succor them. They did so, and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time provisions never failed them, till on the twenty-seventh day they came into a country that was cultivated and inhabited.

Some years afterward he was again led captive, but recovered his liberty after two months. When he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers visions, that he destined him to the great work of the conversion of Ireland. The writers of his life say that after his second captivity he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and saw St. Martin, St. Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that he received his mission and the apostolical benediction from this Pope, who died in 432. It is certain that he spent many years in preparing himself for his sacred calling. Great opposition was made against his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relations and by the clergy. These made him great offers in order to detain him among them, and endeavored to affright him by exaggerating the dangers to which he exposed himself amidst the enemies of the Romans and Britons, who did not know God. All these temptations threw the Saint into great perplexities, but the Lord, whose will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him, and he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold his birthright and dignity, to serve strangers, and consecrated his soul to God, to carry His name to the ends of the earth. In this disposition he passed into Ireland, to preach the Gospel, where the worship of idols still generally reigned. He devoted himself entirely to the salvation of these barbarians. He travelled over the whole island, penetrating into the remotest corners, and such was the fruit of his preachings and sufferings that he baptized an infinite number of people. He ordained everywhere clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continence, consecrated virgins to Christ, and instituted monks. He took nothing from the many thousands whom he baptized, and often gave back the little presents which some laid on the altar, choosing rather to mortify the fervent than to scandalize the weak or the infidels. He gave freely of his own, however, both to Pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the provinces where he passed, made presents to the kings, judging that necessary for the progress of the Gospel, and maintained and educated many children, whom he trained up to serve at the altar. The happy success of his labors cost him many persecutions.

A certain prince named Corotick, a Christian in name only, disturbed the peace of his flock. This tyrant, having made a descent into Ireland, plundered the country where St. Patrick had been just conferring confirmation on a great number of neophytes, who were yet in their white garments after baptism. Corotick massacred many, and carried away others, whom he sold to the infidel Picts or Scots. The next day the Saint sent the barbarian a letter entreating him to restore the Christian captives, and at least part of the booty he had taken, that the poor people might not perish for want; but was only answered by railleries. The Saint, therefore, wrote with his own hand a letter. In it he styles himself a sinner and an ignorant man; he declares, nevertheless, that he is established bishop of Ireland, and pronounces Corotick and the other parricides and accomplices separated from him and from Jesus Christ, whose place he holds, forbidding any to eat with them, or to receive their alms, till they should have satisfied God by the tears of sincere penance, and restored the servants of Jesus Christ to their liberty. This letter expresses his most tender love for his flock, and his grief for those who had been slain, yet mingled with joy, because they reign with the prophets, apostles, and martyrs. Jocelin assures us that Corotick was overtaken by the divine vengeance.

St. Patrick held several councils to settle the discipline of the Church which he had planted. St. Bernard and the tradition of the country testify that St. Patrick fixed his metropolitan see at Armagh. He established some other bishops, as appears by his Council and other monuments. He not only converted the whole country by his preaching and wonderful miracles, but also cultivated this vineyard with so fruitful a benediction and increase from heaven, as to render Ireland a most flourishing garden in the Church of God, and a country of Saints.

Many particulars are related of the labors of St. Patrick, which we pass over. In the first year of his mission he attempted to preach Christ in the general assembly of the kings and states of all Ireland, held yearly at Tara, the residence of the chief king, styled the monarch of the whole island, and the principal seat of the Druids or priests, and their paganish rites. The son of Neill, the chief monarch, declared himself against the preacher; however, Patrick converted several, and, on his road to that place, the father of St. Benignus, his immediate successor in the see of Armagh. He afterward converted and baptized the kings of Dublin and Munster, and the seven sons of the king of Connaught, with the greatest part of their subjects, and before his death almost the whole island. He founded a monastery at Armagh; another called Domnach-Padraig, or Patrick's Church; also a third, named Sabhal-Padraig, and filled the country with churches and schools of piety and learning, the reputation of which, for the three succeeding centuries, drew many foreigners into Ireland. He died and was buried at Down, in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185, and translated to another part of the same church.

Ireland is the nursery whence St. Patrick sent forth his missionaries and teachers. Glastonbury and Lindisfarne, Ripon and Malmesbury, bear testimony to the labors of Irish priests and bishops for the conversion of England. Iona is to this day the most venerated spot in Scotland. Columban, Fiacre, Gall, and many others evangelized the "rough places" of France and Switzerland. America and Australia, in modern times, owe their Christianity to the faith and zeal of the sons and daughters of St. Patrick.

REFLECTION.-By the instrumentality of St. Patrick the faith is now as fresh in Ireland, even in this cold twentieth century, as when it was first planted. Ask him to obtain for you the special grace of his children, to prefer the loss of every earthly good to the least compromise in matters of faith.

SOURCE : http://jesus-passion.com/Saint_Patrick.htm



Patrick of Ireland B (RM)

Born in Scotland, c. 385-390; died in Ireland c. 461.


"I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with his Baptism,
The virtue of His Crucifixion with his burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgment Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of the seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,

The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today.

God's power to guide me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to teach me,
God's eye to watch over me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to give me speech,
God's hand to guide me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to shelter me,
God's host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile, merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man and woman.

Christ, protect me today
Against poison,
Against burning,
Against drowning,
Against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ be with me,
Christ be before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ be with me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ at my right,
Christ at my left,
Christ be in the fort,
Christ be in the chariot,
Christ be in the ship,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity.
I believe the Trinity in the Unity,
The Creator of the Universe. Amen."


--Saint Patrick's Breastplate or Faeth Fiadha (deer's cry).

Note that there are several different versions of this prayer, which is alleged to be the invocation that led Patrick and his party safely to the confrontation with the Druids at Tara. It's Irish name, the Deer's Cry, is based on the legend that Patrick and his eight companions were miraculously turned into deer to be able to pass unnoticed by the king's guards sent to intercept them.

"I was like a stone lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came, and in His mercy lifted me up, and verily raised me aloft and placed me on the top of the wall."

--Saint Patrick

The historical Patrick is much more attractive than the Patrick of legend. It is unclear exactly where Patricius Magonus Sucatus (Patrick) was born--somewhere in the west between the mouth of the Severn and the Clyde--but this most popular Irish saint was probably born in Scotland of British origin, perhaps in a village called Bannavem Taberniae. (Other possibilities are in Gaul or at Kilpatrick near Dumbarton, Scotland.) His father, Calpurnius, was a deacon and a civil official, a town councillor, and his grandfather was a priest.

About 405, when Patrick was in his teens (14-16), he was captured by Irish raiders and became a slave in Ireland. There in Ballymena (or Slemish) in Antrim (or Mayo), Patrick first learned to pray intensely while tending his master's sheep in contrast with his early years in Britain when he "knew not the true God" and did not heed clerical "admonitions for our salvation." After six years, he was told in a dream that he should be ready for a courageous effort that would take him back to his homeland.

He ran away from his owner and travelled 200 miles to the coast. His initial request for free passage on a ship was turned down, but he prayed, and the sailors called him back. The ship on which he escaped was taking dogs to Gaul (France). At some point he returned to his family in Britain, then seems to have studied at the monastery of Lérins on the Côte d'Azur from 412 to 415.

He received some kind of training for the priesthood in either Britain or Gaul, possibly in Auxerre, including study of the Latin Bible, but his learning was not of a high standard, and he was to regret this always. He spent the next 15 years at Auxerre were he became a disciple of Saint Germanus of Auxerre and was possibly ordained about 417.

The cultus of Patrick began in France, long before Sucat received the noble title of Patricius, which was immediately before his departure for Ireland about 431. The center of this cultus is a few miles west of Tours, on the Loire, around the town of St- Patrice, which is named after him. The strong, persistent legend is that Patrick not only spent the twenty years after his escape from slavery there, but that it was his home. The local people firmly believe that Patrick was the nephew of Saint Martin of Tours and that he became a monk in his uncle's great Marmoutier Abbey.

Patrick's cultus there reverts to the legend of Les Fleurs de St- Patrice which relates that Patrick was sent from the abbey to preach the Gospel in the area of Bréhémont-sur-Loire. He went fishing one day and had a tremendous catch. The local fishermen were upset and forced him to flee. He reached a shelter on the north bank where he slept under a blackthorn bush. When he awoke the bush was covered with flowers. Because this was Christmas day, the incident was considered a miracle, which recurred each Christmas until the bush was destroyed in World War I. The phenomenon was evaluated many times and verified by various observers, including official organizations. His is now the patron of the fishermen on the Loire and, according to a modern French scholar, the patron of almost every other occupation in the neighborhood. There is a grotto dedicated to him at Marmoutier, which contains a stone bed, alleged to have been his.

It is said that in visions he heard voices in the wood of Focault or that he dreamed of Ireland and determined to return to the land of his slavery as a missionary. In that dream or vision he heard a cry from many people together "come back and walk once more among us," and he read a writing in which this cry was named 'the voice of the Irish.' (When Pope John Paul II went to Ireland in 1979, among his first words were that he, too, had heard the "voice of the Irish.")

In his Confessio Patrick writes: "It was not my grace, but God who overcometh in me, so that I came to the heathen Irish to preach the Gospel . . . to a people newly come to belief which the Lord took from the ends of the earth." Saint Germanus consecrated him bishop about 432, and sent him to Ireland to succeed Saint Palladius, the first bishop, who had died earlier that year. There was some opposition to Patrick's appointment, probably from Britain, but Patrick made his way to Ireland about 435.

He set up his see at Armagh and organized the church into territorial sees, as elsewhere in the West and East. While Patrick encouraged the Irish to become monks and nuns, it is not certain that he was a monk himself; it is even less likely that in his time the monastery became the principal unit of the Irish Church, although it was in later periods. The choice of Armagh may have been determined by the presence of a powerful king. There Patrick had a school and presumably a small familia in residence; from this base he made his missionary journeys. There seems to have been little contact with the Palladian Christianity of the southeast.

There is no reliable account of his work in Ireland, where he had been a captive. Legends include the stories that he drove snakes from Ireland, and that he described the Trinity by referring to the shamrock, and that he singlehandedly--an impossible task--converted Ireland. Nevertheless, Saint Patrick established the Catholic Church throughout Ireland on lasting foundations: he travelled throughout the country preaching, teaching, building churches, opening schools and monasteries, converting chiefs and bards, and everywhere supporting his preaching with miracles.

At Tara in Meath he is said to have confronted King Laoghaire on Easter Eve with the Christian Gospel, kindled the light of the paschal fire on the hill of Slane (the fire of Christ never to be extinguished in Ireland), confounded the Druids into silence, and gained a hearing for himself as a man of power. He converted the king's daughters (a tale I've recounted under the entry for Saints Ethenea and Fidelmia. He threw down the idol of Crom Cruach in Leitrim. Patrick wrote that he daily expected to be violently killed or enslaved again.

He gathered many followers, including Saint Benignus, who would become his successor. That was one of his chief concerns, as it always is for the missionary Church: the raising up of native clergy.

He wrote: "It was most needful that we should spread our nets, so that a great multitude and a throng should be taken for God. . . . Most needful that everywhere there should be clergy to baptize and exhort a people poor and needy, as the Lord in the Gospel warns and teaches, saying: Go ye therefore now, and teach all nations. And again: Go ye therefore into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. And again: This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all nations."

In his writings and preaching, Patrick revealed a scale of values. He was chiefly concerned with abolishing paganism, idolatry, and sun-worship. He made no distinction of classes in his preaching and was himself ready for imprisonment or death for following Christ. In his use of Scripture and eschatological expectations, he was typical of the 5th-century bishop. One of the traits which he retained as an old man was a consciousness of his being an unlearned exile and former slave and fugitive, who learned to trust God completely.

There was some contact with the pope. He visited Rome in 442 and 444. As the first real organizer of the Irish Church, Patrick is called the Apostle of Ireland. According to the Annals of Ulster, the Cathedral Church of Armagh was founded in 444, and the see became a center of education and administration. Patrick organized the Church into territorial sees, raised the standard of scholarship (encouraging the teaching of Latin), and worked to bring Ireland into a closer relationship with the Western Church.

His writings show what solid doctrine he must have taught his listeners. His Confessio (his autobiography, perhaps written as an apology against his detractors), the Lorica (or Breastplate), and the "Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus," protesting British slave trading and the slaughter of a group of Irish Christians by Coroticus's raiding Christian Welshmen, are the first surely identified literature of the British or Celtic Church.

What stands out in his writings is Patrick's sense of being called by God to the work he had undertaken, and his determination and modesty in carrying it out: "I, Patrick, a sinner, am the most ignorant and of least account among the faithful, despised by many. . . . I owe it to God's grace that so many people should through me be born again to him."

Towards the end of his life, Patrick made that 'retreat' of forty days on Cruachan Aigli in Mayo from which the age-long Croagh Patrick pilgrimage derives. Patrick may have died at Saul on Strangford Lough, Downpatrick, where he had built his first church. Glastonbury claims his alleged relics. The National Museum at Dublin has his bell and tooth, presumably from the shrine at Downpatrick, where he was originally entombed with Saints Brigid and Columba.

The high veneration in which the Irish hold Patrick is evidenced by the common salutation, "May God, Mary, and Patrick bless you." His name occurs widely in prayers and blessings throughout Ireland. Among the oldest devotions of Ireland is the prayer used by travellers invoking Patrick's protection, An Mhairbhne Phaidriac or The Elegy of Patrick. He is alleged to have promised prosperity to those who seek his intercession on his feast day, which marks the end of winter. A particularly lovely legend is that the Peace of Christ will reign over all Ireland when the Palm and the Shamrock meet, which means when St. Patrick's Day fall on Passion Sunday.

Most unusual is Well of Saint Patrick at Orvieto, Italy, which was built at the order of Pope Clement VII in 1537 to provide water for the city during its periodic sieges. The connection with Saint Patrick comes from the fact that the project was completed and dedicated by a member of the Sangallo family, a name derived from the Irish Saint Gall. A common Italian proverb refers to this exceptionally deep (248 steps to the surface) well: liberal spenders are said to have pockets as deep as the Well of Patrick (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Bieler, Bury, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, MacNeill, Montague, White).

We are told that often Patrick baptized hundreds on a single day. He would come to a place, a crowd would gather, and when he told them about the true God, the people would cry out from all sides that they wanted to become Christians. Then they would move to the nearest water to be baptized.

On such a day Aengus, a prince of Munster, was baptized. When Patrick had finished preaching, Aengus was longing with all his heart to become a Christian. The crowd surrounded the two because Aengus was such an important person. Patrick got out his book and began to look for the place of the baptismal rite but his crozier got in the way.

As you know, the bishop's crozier often has a spike at the bottom end, probably to allow the bishop to set it into the ground to free his hands. So, when Patrick fumbled searching for the right spot in the book so that he could baptize Aengus, he absent-mindedly stuck his crosier into the ground just beside him--and accidentally through the foot of poor Aengus!

Patrick, concentrating on the sacrament, never noticed what he had done and proceeded with the baptism. The prince never cried out, nor moaned; he simply went very white. Patrick poured water over his bowed head at the simple words of the rite. Then it was completed. Aengus was a Christian. Patrick turned to take up his crozier and was horrified to find that he had driven it through the prince's foot!

"But why didn't you say something? This is terrible. Your foot is bleeding and you'll be lame. . . ." Poor Patrick was very unhappy to have hurt another.

Then Aengus said in a low voice that he thought having a spike driven through his foot was part of the ceremony. He added something that must have brought joy to the whole court of heaven and blessings on Ireland:

"Christ," he said slowly, "shed His blood for me, and I am glad to suffer a little pain at baptism to be like Our Lord" (Curtayne).


In art, Saint Patrick is represented as a bishop driving snakes before him or trampling upon them. At times he may be shown (1) preaching with a serpent around the foot of his pastoral staff; (2) holding a shamrock; (3) with a fire before him; or (4) with a pen and book, devils at his feet, and seraphim above him (Roeder, White). Click here to view an anonymous American icon. He is patron of Nigeria (which was evangelized primarily by Irish clergy) and of Ireland and especially venerated at Lérins (Roeder, White).
SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0317.shtml


Icône de saint Patrick portant l'omophore et tenant un trèfle dans sa main droite




St. Patrick, Bishop and Confessor, Apostle of Ireland

The Irish have many lives of their great apostle, whereof the two principal are, that compiled by Jocelin, a Cistercian monk, in the twelfth century, who quotes four lives written by disciples of the saint; and that by Probus, who, according to Bollandus, lived in the seventh century. But in both are intermixed several injudicious popular reports. We, with Tillemont, chiefly confine ourselves to the saint’s own writings, his Confession, and his Letter to Corotic, which that judicious critic doubts not to be genuine. The style in both is the same; he is expressed in them to be the author; the Confession is quoted by all the authors of his life, and the Letter was written before the conversion of the Franks under King Clovis, in 496. See Tillemont, t. 16. p. 455. and Brittania Sancta.

A.D. 464

IF the virtue of children reflects an honour on their parents, much more justly is the name of St. Patrick rendered illustrious by the innumerable lights of sanctity with which the church of Ireland, planted by his labours in the most remote corner of the then known world, shone during many ages; and by the colonies of saints with which it peopled many foreign countries; for, under God, its inhabitants derived from their glorious apostle the streams of that eminent sanctity, by which they were long conspicuous to the whole world. St. Patrick was born in the decline of the fourth century; 1 and as he informs us in his Confession, in a village called Bonaven Taberniæ, which seems to be the town of Killpatrick, on the mouth of the river Cluyd, in Scotland, between Dunbriton and Glasgow. He calls himself both a Briton and a Roman, or of a mixed extraction, and says his father was of a good family named Calphurnius, and a denizen of a neighbouring city of the Romans, who not long after abandoned Britain, in 409. Some writers call his mother Conchessa, and say she was niece to St. Martin of Tours. At fifteen years of age he committed a fault, which appears not to have been a great crime, yet was to him a subject of tears during the remainder of his life. He says, that when he was sixteen, he lived still ignorant of God, meaning of the devout knowledge and fervent love of God, for he was always a Christian: he never ceased to bewail this neglect, and wept when he remembered that he had been one moment of his life insensible of the divine love. In his sixteenth year he was carried into captivity by certain barbarians, together with many of his father’s vassals and slaves, taken upon his estate. They took him into Ireland, where he was obliged to keep cattle on the mountains and in the forests, in hunger and nakedness, amidst snows, rain, and ice. Whilst he lived in this suffering condition, God had pity on his soul, and quickened him to a sense of his duty by the impulse of a strong interior grace. The young man had recourse to him with his whole heart in fervent prayer and fasting; and from that time faith and the love of God acquired continually new strength in his tender soul. He prayed often in the day, and also many times in the night, breaking off his sleep to return to the divine praises. His afflictions were to him a source of heavenly benedictions, because he carried his cross with Christ, that is, with patience, resignation and holy joy. St. Patrick, after six months spent in slavery under the same master, was admonished by God in a dream to return to his own country, and informed that a ship was then ready to sail thither. He repaired immediately to the sea-coast, though at a great distance, and found the vessel; but could not obtain his passage, probably for want of money. Thus new trials ever await the servants of God. The saint returned towards his hut, praying as he went, but the sailors, though pagans, called him back, and took him on board. After three days’ sail, they made land, probably in the north of Scotland: but wandered twenty-seven days through deserts, and were a long while distressed for want of provisions, finding nothing to eat. Patrick had often entertained the company on the infinite power of God: they therefore asked him, why he did not pray for relief? Animated by a strong faith, he assured them that if they would address themselves with their whole heart to the true God, he would hear and succour them. They did so, and on the same day met with a herd of swine. From that time provisions never failed them till on the twenty-seventh day they came into a country that was cultivated and inhabited. During their distress, Patrick refused to touch meats which had been offered to idols. One day a great stone from a rock happened to fall upon him, and had like to have crushed him to death, whilst he had laid down to take a little rest. But he invoked Elias, and was delivered from the danger. Some years afterwards he was again led captive; but recovered his liberty after two months. When he was at home with his parents, God manifested to him, by divers visions, that he destined him to the great work of the conversion of Ireland. He thought he saw all the children of that country from the wombs of their mothers stretching out their hands, and piteously crying to him for relief. 2

Some think he had travelled into Gaul before he undertook his mission, and we find that, whilst he preached in Ireland, he had a great desire to visit his brethren in Gaul, and to see those whom he calls the saints of God, having been formerly acquainted with them. The authors of his life say, that after his second captivity, he travelled into Gaul and Italy, and had seen St. Martin, St. Germanus of Auxerre, and Pope Celestine, and that he received his mission, and the apostolical benediction from this pope, who died in 432. But it seems, from his Confession, that he was ordained deacon, priest, and bishop, for his mission in his own country. It is certain that he spent many years in preparing himself for those sacred functions. Great opposition was made against his episcopal consecration and mission, both by his own relations and by the clergy. These made him great offers in order to detain him among them, and endeavoured to affright him by exaggerating the dangers to which he exposed himself amidst the enemies of the Romans and Britons, who did not know God. Some objected, with the same view, the fault which he had committed thirty years before as an obstacle to his ordination. All these temptations threw the saint into great perplexities, and had like to have made him abandon the work of God. But the Lord, whose will he consulted by earnest prayer, supported him, and comforted him by a vision; so that he persevered in his resolution. He forsook his family, sold, as he says, his birth-right and dignity, to serve strangers, and consecrated his soul to God, to carry his name to the end of the earth. He was determined to suffer all things for the accomplishment of his holy design, to receive in the same spirit both prosperity and adversity, and to return thanks to God equally for the one as for the other, desiring only that his name might be glorified, and his divine will accomplished to his own honour. In this disposition he passed into Ireland, to preach the gospel, where the worship of idols still generally reigned. He devoted himself entirely for the salvation of these barbarians, to be regarded as a stranger, to be condemned as the last of men, to suffer from the infidels imprisonment and all kinds of persecution, and to give his life with joy, if God should deem him worthy to shed his blood in his cause. He travelled over the whole island, penetrating into the remotest corners without fearing any dangers, and often visited each province. Such was the fruit of his preachings and sufferings, that he consecrated to God, by baptism, an infinite number of people, and laboured effectually that they might be perfected in his service by the practice of virtue. He ordained every where clergymen, induced women to live in holy widowhood and continency, consecrated virgins to Christ, and instituted monks. Great numbers embraced these states of perfection with extreme ardour. Many desired to confer earthly riches on him, who had communicated to them the goods of heaven; but he made it a capital duty to decline all self-interest, and whatever might dishonour his ministry. He took nothing from the many thousands whom he baptized, and often gave back the little presents which some laid on the altar, choosing rather to mortify the fervent than to scandalize the weak or the infidels. On the contrary, he gave freely of his own, both to pagans and Christians, distributed large alms to the poor in the provinces where he passed, made presents to the kings; judging that necessary for the progress of the gospel, and maintained and educated many children whom he trained up to serve at the altar. He always gave till he had no more to bestow, and rejoiced to see himself poor, with Jesus Christ, knowing poverty and afflictions to be more profitable to him than riches and pleasures. The happy success of his labours cost him many persecutions.

A certain prince named Corotick, a Christian, though in name only, disturbed the peace of his flock. He seems to have reigned in some part of Wales, after the Britons had been abandoned by the Romans. This tyrant, as the saint calls him, having made a descent into Ireland, plundered the country where Saint Patrick had been just conferring the holy chrism, that is, confirmation, on a great number of Neophytes, who were yet in their white garments after baptism. Corotick, without paying any regard to justice, or to the holy sacrament, massacred many, and carried away others, whom he sold to the infidel Picts or Scots. This probably happened at Easter or Whitsuntide. The next day the saint sent the barbarian a letter by a holy priest whom he had brought up from his infancy, entreating him to restore the Christian captives, and at least part of the booty he had taken, that the poor people might not perish for want; but was only answered by railleries, as if the Irish could not be the same Christians with the Britons: which arrogance and pride sunk those barbarous conquerors beneath the dignity of men, whilst by it they were puffed up above others in their own hearts. The saint, therefore, to prevent the scandal which such a flagrant enormity gave to his new converts, wrote with his own hand a public circular letter. In it he styles himself a sinner and an ignorant man; for such is the sincere humility of the saints, (most of all when they are obliged to exercise any acts of authority,) contrary to the pompous titles which the world affects. He declares, nevertheless, that he is established bishop of Ireland, and pronounces Corotick and the other parricides and accomplices separated from him and from Jesus Christ, whose place he holds, forbidding any to eat with them, or to receive their alms, till they should have satisfied God by the tears of sincere penance, and restored the servants of Jesus Christ to their liberty. This letter expresses his most tender love for his flock, and his grief for those who had been slain, yet mingled with joy, because they reign with the prophets, apostles, and martyrs. Jocelin assures us, that Corotick, was overtaken by the divine vengeance. St. Patrick wrote his Confession as a testimony of his mission, when he was old. 3 It is solid, full of good sense and piety, expresses an extraordinary humility and a great desire of martyrdom, and is written with spirit. The author was perfectly versed in the holy scriptures. He confesses every where his own faults with a sincere humility, and extols the great mercies of God towards him in this world, who had exalted him, though the most undeserving of men: yet, to preserve him in humility, afforded him the advantage of meeting with extreme contempt from others, that is from the heathens. He confesses, for his humiliation, that, among other temptations, he felt a great desire to see again his own country, and to visit the saints of his acquaintance in Gaul: but durst not abandon his people; and says, that the Holy Ghost had declared to him that to do it would be criminal. He tells us, that a little before he had written this, he himself and all his companions had been plundered and laid in irons, for his having baptized the son of a certain king against the will of his father: but were released after fourteen days. He lived in the daily expectation of such accidents, and of martyrdom; but feared nothing, having his hope as a firm anchor fixed in heaven, and reposing himself with an entire confidence in the Almighty. He says, that he had lately baptized a very beautiful young lady of quality, who some days after came to tell him, that she had been admonished by an angel to consecrate her virginity to Jesus Christ, that she might render herself the more acceptable to God. He gave God thanks, and she made her vows with extraordinary fervour six days before he wrote this letter.

St. Patrick held several councils to settle the discipline of the church which he had planted. The first, the acts of which are extant under his name in the editions of the councils, is certainly genuine. Its canons regulate several points of discipline, especially relating to penance. 4 St. Bernard and the tradition of the country testify, that St. Patrick fixed his metropolitan see at Armagh. He established some other bishops, as appears by his council and other monuments. He not only converted the whole country by his preaching and wonderful miracles, but also cultivated this vineyard with so fruitful a benediction and increase from heaven, as to render Ireland a most flourishing garden in the church of God, and a country of saints. And those nations, which had for many ages esteemed all others barbarians, did not blush to receive from the utmost extremity of the uncivilized or barbarous world, their most renowned teachers and guides in the greatest of all sciences, that of the saints.

Many particulars are related of the labours of St. Patrick, which we pass over. In the first year of his mission he attempted to preach Christ in the general assembly of the kings and states of all Ireland, held yearly at Taraghe, or Temoria, in East-Meath, the residence of the chief king, styled the monarch of the whole island, and the principal seat of the Druids or priests, and their paganish rites. The son of Neill, the chief monarch, declared himself against the preacher: however, he converted several, and, on his road to that place, the father of St. Benen, or Benignus, his immediate successor in the see of Armagh. He afterwards converted and baptized the kings of Dublin and Munster, and the seven sons of the king of Connaught, with the greater part of their subjects, and before his death almost the whole island. He founded a monastery at Armagh; another called Domnach-Padraig, or Patrick’s church; also a third, named Sabhal-Padraig, and filled the country with churches and schools of piety and learning; the reputation of which, for the three succeeding centuries, drew many foreigners into Ireland. 5 Nennius, abbot of Bangor, in 620, in his history of the Britons, 6 published by the learned Thomas Gale, says, that St. Patrick took that name only when he was ordained bishop, being before called Maun; that he continued his missions over all the provinces of Ireland, during forty years; that he restored sight to many blind, health to the sick, and raised nine dead persons to life. 7 He died and was buried at Down, in Ulster. His body was found there in a church of his name in 1185, and translated to another part of the same church. His festival is marked on the 17th of March, in the Martyrology of Bede, &c.

The apostles of nations were all interior men, endowed with a sublime spirit of prayer. The salvation of souls being a supernatural end, the instruments ought to bear a proportion to it, and preaching proceed from a grace which is supernatural. To undertake this holy function, without a competent stock of sacred learning, and without the necessary precautions of human prudence and industry, would be to tempt God. But sanctity of life and the union of the heart with God, are a qualification far more essential than science, eloquence, and human talents. Many almost kill themselves with studying to compose elegant sermons, which flatter the ear yet reap very little fruit. Their hearers applaud their parts, but very few are converted. Most preachers, now-a-days, have learning, but are not sufficiently grounded in true sanctity, and a spirit of devotion. Interior humility, purity of heart, recollection, and the spirit and the assiduous practice of holy prayer, are the principal preparation for the ministry of the word, and the true means of acquiring the science of the saints. A short devout meditation and fervent prayer, which kindle a fire in the affections, furnish more thoughts proper to move the hearts of the hearers, and inspire them with sentiments of true virtue, than many years employed barely in reading and study. St. Patrick, and other apostolic men, were dead to themselves and the world, and animated with the spirit of perfect charity and humility, by which they were prepared by God to be such powerful instruments of his grace, as, by the miraculous change of so many hearts, to plant in entire barbarous nations not only the faith, but also the spirit of Christ. Preachers, who have not attained to a disengagement and purity of heart, suffer the petty interests of self-love secretly to mingle themselves in their zeal and charity, and have reason to suspect that they inflict deeper wounds in their own souls than they are aware, and produce not in others the good which they imagine.

Note 1. According to Usher and Tillemont, in 372. The former places his death in 493; but Tillemont, about the year 455. Nennius, published by Mr. Gale, says he died fifty-seven years before the birth of St. Columba, consequently in 464. [back]

Note 2. St. Prosper, in his chronicle, assures us that Pope Celestine ordained St. Palladius bishop of the Scots in 431, and by him converted their country to the faith; this apostle seems to have preached to this nation first in Ireland, and afterwards in Scotland. Though Palladius be styled by St. Prosper and Bede their first bishop, yet the light of the faith had diffused its rays from Britain into Ireland before that time, as several monuments produced by Usher demonstrate. But the general conversion of the inhabitants of this island was reserved for St. Patrick.

  The Scots are distinguished from the native Irish in the works of St. Patrick, and in other ancient monuments. As to their original, the most probable conjecture seems to be, that they were a foreign warlike nation who made a settlement in Ireland before the arrival of St. Patrick. We find them mentioned there in the fourth century. Several colonies of them passed not long after into Scotland. But the inhabitants of Ireland were promiscuously called Scots or Irish for many ages. 
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Note 3. The style is not polished; but the Latin edition is perhaps, only a translation: or his captivities might have prevented his progress in polite learning being equal to that which he made in the more sublime and more necessary studies. [back]

Note 4. A second council, extant in the same collection, ought rather to be ascribed to a nephew of this saint. Other Irish canons, published in the ninth tome of D’Achery’s Spicilege, and more by Martenne, (Anecd. tome 4. part 2.) though they bear the name of St. Patrick, are judged to have been framed by some of his successors. See Wilkins, Conc. Britan. & Hibern. t. 1. p. 3.
  The treatise, of the Twelve Abuses, published among the works of St. Austin and St. Cyprian, is attributed to St. Patrick, in a collection of ecclesiastical ordinances made in Ireland, in the eighth age, by Arbedoc, and in other ancient monuments. The style is elegant; but it may be a translation from an Irish original. Sir James Ware published the works of St. Patrick at London, in 1658, in octavo. 
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Note 5. It seems demonstrated that the St. Patrick who flourished among the hermits of Glastenbury, and was there buried, was distinct from our saint, and somewhat older. [back]

Note 6. C. 55, 56, 57, 58. 61. [back]

Note 7. The popular tradition attributes the exemption of their country from venemous creatures to the benediction of St. Patrick, given by his staff, called the staff of Jesus, which was kept with great veneration in Dublin, as is mentioned in the year 1360, by Ralph Higden, in his Polychronicon, published by Mr. Gale and by others. The isle of Malta is said to derive a like privilege from St. Paul, who was there bitten by a viper.

  St. Patrick’s purgatory is a cave in an island in the lake Dearg, in the county of Donnegal, near the borders of Fermanagh. Bollandus shows the falsehood of many things related concerning it. Upon complaint of certain superstitious and false notions of the vulgar, in 1497, it was stopped up by an order of the pope. See Bollandus, Tillemont, p. 787, Alemand in his Monastic History of Ireland, and Thiers, Hist des Superst. t. 4. ed. Nov. It was soon after opened again by the inhabitants; but only according to the original institution, as Bollandus takes notice, as a penitential retirement for those who voluntarily chose it, probably in imitation of St. Patrick, or other saints, who had there dedicated themselves to a penitential state. The penitents usually spend there several days, living on bread and water, lying on rushes or furze, and praying much, with daily stations which they perform barefoot. 
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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/3/171.html

Saint PATRICK. Confession et Lettre à Coroticus : http://remacle.org/bloodwolf/eglise/patrick/table.htm


Voir aussi : Jean Guiffan (Chargé d’enseignement à l’université de Nantes).
Saint Patrick et la christianisation de l'Irlande : http://www.clio.fr/BIBLIOTHEQUE/saint_patrick_et_la_christianisation_de_l_irlande.asp