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While there exist countless legends and stories written about St. Patrick’s life, the most accepted summary of his life is his Confession.
Similar to St. Augustine’s Confessions, this short short letter from St. Patrick summarizes his life, highlighting his own shortcomings and failings.
I, Patrick, a sinner, most rustic, the least of all the faithful, and utterly despised by many. My father was Calpornius, a deacon, son of Potitus, a priest, of the village Bannavem Taburnia; he had a country seat nearby, and there I was taken captive.
His autobiography is a mix of historical data and various theological reflections.
Many believe St. Patrick wrote this letter when he was older, as he was reflecting on his life and preparing for death.
He knew all his many failings and did not want to sugarcoat his life. Instead, he wanted to make a “confession,” which means both an accounting of sins and a declaration of faith.
I pray those who believe and fear God, whosoever deigns to look at or receive this writing which Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, has composed in Ireland, that no one should ever say that it was my ignorance if I did or showed forth anything however small according to God’s good pleasure; but let this be your conclusion and let it so be thought, that—as is the perfect truth—it was the gift of God. This is my confession before I die.
St. Patrick’s Confession is one of the only pieces of writing that we have from the popular saint and is a beautiful testament that everyone should read if they want to learn more about him.