patrick was born around 390 AD. though his family was christian, and his father and grandfather were church leaders, patrick was a rebellious teenager living without God's gift of salvation. when he was 16, patrick was captured by pirates and taken from britian to ireland. during that time, God opened his eyes to his wretched condition and saved him.
eventually, God miraculously provided a way for patrick to escape the island, and brought him back to britian and his family. he enrolled in seminary and became a pastor. it wasn't long before God called patrick to be a missionary to his former captors, and he went back to ireland. previously, ireland had been seen as a country that was without hope; no churchmen dared go there and try to share the gospel with these barbarious people. using unique (for that day) methods, patrick related to the irish people and God allowed him to see thousands saved, and patrick himself trained at least 1000 pastors. (more on his life here)
to learn more from the man himself, i highly recommend his confession, which is also available for free online (you can even download a pdf to your computer). it is an easy read, a mere 15 pages, but well worth it. the book starts out like this:
"I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most
contemptible to many... was taken captive [by pirates]. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken
into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people...
And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son"
one of my favorite quotes from the book is this:
"but i know for certain, that before i was humbled i was like a stone lying in deepread the whole thing here.
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."