St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography. By Philip Freeman. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004. pp 240., $11.23 Kindle.
In his book, St. Patrick of Ireland, Philip Freeman is presenting his case for the missionary life of St. Patrick. He undertakes to draw from Patrick’s words, his two letters, as well as those of medieval, Celtic, British and other such publications. Freeman is trying to give his readers a vivid image of what life would have been like during the latter part of the fourth century in Ireland. This book critique will look at the strengths and weaknesses that the author offers in his attempt to portray the life and times of St. Patrick. The story of St. Patrick opens with the excitement of invasion, kidnapping and theft by Irish pirates, of a young Patrick, from Bennavanta Berniae of Britain. He would be sold into slavery at the age of sixteen and serve one master for six years. It was during this time though he being raised by his father who was a deacon in the church and a grandfather who was a priest; Patrick had become an atheist. Captivity had brought a change in the life of Patrick as he began praying, fasting and seeking the Lord that God produced a new heart of belief in him. Upon hearing a voice one night in his sleep saying, “’you have fasted well – soon you will be going home’, then the next night he heard the voice again saying, ‘behold your ship is ready’” (Freeman). God would lead him out of Ireland back to his home in Britain and back to his family, but this wouldn’t be the last he would see of Ireland. It was while back in Britain that he would have another dream. In the dream, “he received a letter from Ireland with voices singing and calling him, saying, ‘come here and walk among us’” (Freeman). Patrick would return to Ireland where he would serve for the rest of his days and be buried in an unmarked grave. The author, Philip Freeman, does a good job in painting into the reader’s mind of what it must have been like...
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