Patrick’s Love for His Adopted People

His love for his adopted people shines through his writings, and it is not just a generalized “Christian” benevolence, but a love for individuals as they are. He tells us of a “blessed woman, Irish by birth, noble, extraordinarily beautiful (pulcherrima) – a true adult – whom I baptized.” Who could imagine such a frank admiration of a woman from the pen of Augustine? Who could imagine such particularity of observation from most of those listed in the calendar of saints?

He worries constantly for his people, not just for their spiritual, but also for their physical welfare. The horror of slavery never lost on him: “But it is the women kept in slavery who suffer the most – and who keep their spirits up despite the menacing and terrorizing they must endure. The Lord gives grace to his many handmaids; and though they are forbidden to do so, they follow him with backbone.” Patrick has become an Irishman, a man who can give far more credibility to a woman’s strength and fortitude than could any classically educated man.

In his last years, he could probably look out over an Ireland transformed by his teaching. According to tradition, at least, he established bishops throughout northern, central, and eastern Ireland.

Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization, p. 109

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

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