Patrick was born to a Christian family in Roman Britain. He rejected the faith of his family and at about the age of 15 was kidnapped by pirates who took him to Ireland and forced him into slavery. He served as a shepherd and at about the age of 16 had an experience of conversion that changed his whole life. In his confession, Patrick wrote, “…but in that strange land, the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes and although late, I called my sins to mind and was converted with my whole heart to the Lord my God who regarded my low estate, had pity on my youth and ignorance and consoled me as a father consoles his children.” After about six years, Patrick was able to escape and return to his homeland and family. He was educated as a priest and after a vision, requested that he return to Ireland to bring the gospel to the people there. Patrick spent 30 years in Ireland as a missionary and bishop, evangelizing and baptizing many thousands of people. He confronted violent pagan practices such as human sacrifice and spoke out unequivocally against human slavery.
In our window, Patrick is pictured in a legendary pose—holding up a shamrock to teach about the Trinity. His heritage includes the Irish monks who traveled around Europe during The Dark Ages and founded monasteries in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany, as far east as Kiev in Russia and as far west as Iceland in the North Atlantic, His feast is on March 17th.