“…you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” ~ Joseph
There are many similarities between the life of Joseph and that of St. Patrick of Ireland. Kidnapped and sold into slavery in their youth, friendless and alone in a foreign land, neither had anyone to turn to but God. Placing all their faith and trust in Him, they were each able to accomplish amazing things.
From the High Calling ~
Patrick’s story reads like an Indiana Jones-type adventure. Raised in Britain (yes, not Ireland), Patrick was captured by pirates in A.D. 405 when he was only sixteen years old. The kidnappers whisked him away to Ireland and sold Patrick into slavery. He spent eight years as a captive in this pagan land.
During his captivity, Patrick embraced the Christian faith of his upbringing, something that had mattered little to him beforehand. In his own words, Patrick explained: “And there the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and be converted with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my abjection, and mercy on my youth and ignorance, and watched over me before I knew Him, and before I was able to distinguish between good and evil, and guarded me, and comforted me as would a father his son” (from The Confession of St. Patrick).
Inspired by a dream, Patrick finally escaped from Ireland and made his way back to his home in Britain. But, in time, he sensed God’s call to return to Ireland, of all places, in order to share the good news of Christ with the pagans there. Even though he feared he wasn’t sufficiently learned to be a missionary, Patrick returned to Ireland, where he found unprecedented success in his evangelistic endeavors. His experience of Irish language and culture during his years as a slave enabled Patrick to communicate the Christian gospel with unusual effectiveness.
Though we can’t be sure when Patrick died, tradition holds that he lived into his seventies and died on March 17 in the latter half of the fifth-century A.D. In twenty-five or thirty years of evangelistic work, he led thousands of Irish pagans to Christ and was responsible for Ireland’s becoming one of the most Christian nations in Europe. For this reason he is called “the apostle of the Irish.”