This Week's Story

St. Patrick is kicked to an auction block and sold in Ireland.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

St. Patrick: a Slave in Ireland, part two

“Listen, boy, we expect to get good money for you. Eat and get to the deck.”

Patrick kept his face blank. It would be stupid to resist these Irish pirates!

When the boat reached Ireland, he was kicked to an auction block and sold. His mind twisted. Now I am nothing, a slave. My master decides what I am worth.

Soon Milchu, Patrick’s owner, sent him into the hills of northern Ireland. “You will care for my sheep.”

“I know nothing about sheep.”

“If you hope to stay alive, you will learn.”

Soon Patrick found himself alone with dumb sheep. No sheep herder was with him, no one to be his friend. Wild animals were his enemies. They stalked, circled, and watched for an opportunity to

attack and drag off lambs. Patrick knew he could become a target. He learned the growls of wolves, wild dogs, fox, and bear. Loneliness became an aching. Often he was cold working with little clothing in snow, frost, or rain. Hunger came too often.

Where could he turn? He could pray to God. His parents had. He prayed, and found a friend for his soul. He wrote later, “In a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night only slightly fewer.” He wrote that God comforted him and forgave him of his sins. His faith grew.

After six years, there came a night with a dream. He heard a voice calling to him. “Your hungers are rewarded. You are going home. Look, your ship is ready.” Patrick took his dream seriously and escaped. He walked two hundred miles, each leading him to his home in Britain or to capture.

At the coast he tried to book passage on a merchant ship heading to Britain. He was refused. He left and prayed for help. The ship’s captain sent for him to return. Three days later Patrick was on Britain’s coast.

The ship landed in a desolate area, much like a desert. Food and water supplies were desperately limited. Soon the sailors and Patrick were near starvation. The sailors mocked Patrick. “We know you pray and believe there is a god. Is that going to help us find food and water?”

He replied, “You can pray and trust God.”

Shortly afterwards a herd of pigs appeared and the sailors were able to eat meat and give Patrick more respect. They walked until a town was reached. Patrick went on alone until he reached his home and parents. “Son! Every day for six years we have prayed that God would protect you and bring you home.”

Patrick’s eyes and arms embraced them. They saw: Our carefree son is gone! Look at him! His body is tough. He’s alert. Talking does not come easily to him.

Patrick had missed years of school education. He was behind his former friends in reading, writing, speech, mathematics, and history. Could his years as a slave help him in the future? Patrick remained with his parents a few years. Then he had another dream.

In it he saw a man from Ireland come to him with many letters. Patrick later said, “The man gave me one. Its heading was ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ I seemed to hear the voices of Irish people who live beside the western sea. They cried to me in one voice, ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.’”

He knew God wanted him to return to Ireland, but first he would study the Bible and Christianity and become a priest.

This is Barbara Steiner. Soon we will hear what Patrick did in Ireland.

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