Saint of the Month: St. Patrick*

Legends about Patrick abound; but truth is best served by our seeing two solid qualities in him: He was humble and he was courageous. At 16, he was captured by Irish raiders and sold as a slave in Ireland. Forced to work as a shepherd, he suffered greatly from hunger and cold.

After six years Patrick escaped and later returned to Britain at the age of 22. His captivity had meant spiritual conversion. He was consecrated bishop at the age of 43. His great desire was to proclaim the good news to the Irish.

In a dream vision it seemed “all the children of Ireland from their mothers’ wombs were stretching out their hands” to him. He understood the vision to be a call to do mission work in pagan Ireland. He went to the west and north–where the faith had never been preached–obtained the protection of local kings, and made numerous converts.

He suffered much opposition from pagan druids and was criticized in both England and Ireland for the way he conducted his mission. In a relatively short time, the island had experienced deeply the Christian spirit, and was prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe. Patrick was a man of action. He had a rock-like belief in his vocation, in the cause he had espoused.

St. Patrick’s qualities certainly reflect the attitude of Good Shepherd. Throughout our history, our parish has set the standard for Catholic Social Teaching in action and outreach in the archdiocese. Our parish has begun ministries, Gay and Straight in Christ and Workcamp to name few, that have seen missionaries take and begin in other parishes. We are a parish of action. The Ellacuria Twinning Relationship, Hope Network and Faith Advocates Against Human Trafficking are examples of quick action in the face of an issue that was in great need of restoration of hope and justice.

Our parish is ready for the next humble and courageous servant to emerge with a nose for action to a ministry at our parish or to a new cause that needs the attention of a “Saint of Good Shepherd.”
*St. Patrick biography excerpts courtesy of