St. Patrick, apostle of Ireland, was born in the village of Bannavem Taberniae, England, circa 386. His father, Calphurnius, was a deacon from a Roman family of high social standing. His mother, Conchessa, was a close relative of the great patron St. Martin of Tours. St. Patrick’s grandfather, Pontius, was also a member of the clergy. Surprisingly, St. Patrick himself was not raised with a strong emphasis on religion. Education was not particularly stressed during his childhood either. Later in life, this would become a source of embarrassment for St. Patrick, who in the early 440s, would write in his Confessio, "I blush and fear exceedingly to reveal my lack of education."
When St. Patrick was 16 years old, he was captured by Irish pirates. They brought him to Ireland where he was sold into slavery in Dalriada. There, his job was to tend sheep. Saint Patrick’s master, Milchu, was a high priest of Druidism, a Pagan sect that ruled religious influence over Ireland at the time.
St. Patrick came to view his enslavement as God’s test of his faith. During his six years of captivity, he became deeply devoted to Christianity through constant prayer. In a vision, he saw the children of Pagan Ireland reaching out their hands to him. With this, he grew increasingly determined to free the Irish from Druidism by converting them to Christianity.
St. Rita of Cascia
Saint Rita was born in Italy in the late 14th century, near the little city of Cascia, of parents who though advancing in age had no children; she was the fruit of their pious prayers. At the age of twelve she resolved to consecrate herself to God by the vow of chastity, but her parents required her to marry. She obeyed; and God, who perhaps wished her to serve as an example for those having to bear with violent spouses, permitted that she be joined to a man of ferocious character, who terrified the region where he lived....
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