St. Patrick, known in his time as Patricius, was a Roman Briton, credited (as we know) with the
evangelization of Ireland. Under his gentle teaching, Ireland became the first nation fully
evangelized outside of the Roman sphere. The Irish weren't led to convert under military threat
or political expediency. The Gospel simply came alive in him. And though he was not an Irishman
by birth, the Irish Diaspora the world over celebrates their kinship to him.
When St. Patrick was about sixteen, he was captured by raiders and brought to what is now
considered to be Antrim, where he was sold as chattel to a chieftain and put into forced
service as a shepherd. St. Patrick, as we know, escaped, and did (after brief recapture) reunite
with his family. He began, upon his return, studying for the priesthood and serving God in
thanks. In his capture, escape, and reunion with his family, St. Patrick first became a colossus
in the eternal human story that is the struggle against human trafficking and slavery, and in his
return to Ireland, he then he became a colossus in the eternal human story that is the struggle
May Saint Patrick intercede to win the freedom of all of those whose dignity has been
compromised by the tragedies of slavery and trafficking. And, in this Lenten time, may He help
us to find strength to break free of our slavery to sin.