"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: 'The Voice of the Irish'. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.' "
Thus spake Saint Patrick, in Latin that's Sanctus Patricius, and in the Irish (Gaellic) tongue, Naomh Pádraig, born in AD 387 and who died on this date, March 17, in the year AD 461. The man was a was a Romanized-Celt, and a Christian missionary, who is considered the patron saint of Ireland. The above is from one of two letters generally accepted by historians as having been written by Patrick, and recounts a vision which he had a few years after returning there from Gaul.
St. Patrick Wasn't WHAT??
Well here's a kicker for you: the man was not actually Irish!! Actually, he was not really BORN in Ireland herself. As stated above, he was a Romanized Celt. Remember, the Roman Empire went on for quite a long time. The island of Britain was conquered by the Romans lead by Julius Caesar in @ 50 BC. But it was not until the reign of Claudius Caesar that Britain was brought firmly back into the Roman world in @ 56 AD. Thus the people of this part of the world thought of themselves as being Romans. It was into this world that the young Patrick was born to the given name of Maewyn. His birth place was most likely a small village near the mouth of the Severn River in what is now Wales. And here's the other kicker: he was dragged to Ireland as a slave by Irish marauders! These rogues kidnapped (or Saint-napped) the boy when he was sixteen years old, along with hundreds of other men and women, and for six years he was a kind of captive sheep herder in County Antrim. It was during this period that he came to an increasing awareness of God in his heart.
St. Patrick's Conversion
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"Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things" by Charles Panati, Harper & Row Publ. Inc., New York, 1987.