Weekly Story: Patrick Arrives in Ireland

Weekly Story

Jocelin, a twelfth century Monk of the Cistercian Order in Furness, records Patrick’s arrival in Ireland.

And Milcho beheld a vision in the night; and behold, PATRICK entered his palace as all on fire, and the flames issuing from his mouth, and from his nose, and from his eyes, and from his ears seemed to burn him.



How Saint Patrick was carried into Ireland.


AS, according to the testimony of Holy Writ, the furnace tries gold, and the fire of tribulation proves the Just, so did the hour of his trial draw near to PATRICK, that he might the more provedly receive the crown of life. For when the illustrious boy had perlustrated three Lustres, already attaining his sixteenth year, he was with many of his countrymen seized by the Pirates who were ravaging those borders, and was made captive and carried into Ireland, and was there sold as a Slave to a certain Pagan Prince named Milcho, who reigned in the northern part of the island, even at the same age in which Joseph is recorded to have been sold into Egypt.

But Joseph being sold as a slave, and being after his humiliation exalted, received power and dominion over all Egypt: PATRICK after his servitude and his affliction obtained the Primacy of the especial and spiritual dominion of Ireland.

Joseph refreshed with corn the Egyptians oppressed by famine: PATRICK in process of time fed with the salutary food of the Christian faith, the Irish perishing under Idolatry; to each was affliction sent for the profit of his soul, as is the flail to the grain, the furnace to the gold, the file to the iron, the winepress to the grape, and the oil-press to the olive.

Therefore it was, that PATRICK at the command of the fore-mentioned Prince, was appointed to the care of the swine, and under his care the herd became fruitful and exceedingly multiplied. From whence it may well be learned, that as the master’s substance is often increased and improved by the attention of a diligent and fortunate servant or steward; so on the other hand is it reduced and injured under an idle or unprosperous hand.

But the holy youth heartily embracing in his soul the judgments of the Lord, made of his necessity a virtue, and having in his office of a swine-herd obtained solitude, worked out his own salvation. For he abode in the mountains, and in the woods, and in the caves of the wilderness; and having leisure for prayer, and knowing how kind was the Lord, freely and more freely did he pour forth the incense of his supplications in the presence of the Most High; and an hundred times in the day, and an hundred times in the night did he on his bended knees adore his Creator, and often did he pray for a long time fasting, and nourishing himself with the roots of herbs and with the lightest food, did he mortify his members which were stretched upon the earth.

Nor him could heat, nor cold, nor snow, nor hail, nor ice, nor any other inclemency of the air compel from his spiritual exercises. Therefore went he forward daily increasing and confirming himself more strong in the faith and love of Christ Jesus; and the more weak and infirm he appeared, so much the steadier and more powerful was he in fulfilling the commands of the Lord.

—Jocelin, The Life and Acts of Saint Patrick (Trans. Edmond L. Swift).

Courtesy of Democratic Thinker