Today the boys have special pillow cases on their beds in honour of St Patrick’s Day. Jennifer had told her aunt that she felt the boys missed the seasons and holidays at home—not that they need to see the commercialism of Christmas shopping at home but an awareness of the seasons and holidays that we celebrate. She asked if someone could create some pillow cases that might reflect something of what’s happening at home, and so today we have shamrocks on our pillows that were made by a lady in her church. I must confess that Patrick is my favourite missionary/saint. That’s not because of my Irish heritage. The truth is my family lost all contact with Ireland when they came to Canada over a hundred years ago. Eric, an Irish friend who works here with the Irish Red Cross said, “Oh yes, they were called the coffin boats because once people got on them they were never heard from again.” What I like about Patrick was his sense of being underqualified and inadequate for the job:
I am, then, first of all, countryfied, an exile, evidently unlearned, one who is not able to see into the future, but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and,indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.
Kidnapped and taken as a slave to Ireland when still a child, Patrick later escaped only to be compelled by a vision to return to the people who had enslaved him.
…there, in a vision of the night, I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as if from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter: 'The Voice of the Irish', and as I was reading the beginning of the letter I seemed at that moment to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice: 'We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.' And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke.
Despite misunderstanding and conflict with Christian colleagues and much opposition from local leaders Patrick persevered to establish the church in Ireland. You can read a fairly good translation of his “Confession” here: http://www.cin.org/patrick.html .