March 17, 2016

St. Patrick and the Prince’s Grandfather

As today is St. Patrick’s Day, it is fitting to report a story involving the most illustrious Saint. It has been said that St. Patrick performed a thousand miracles. Here is one of them that has come down through the ages.

The Saint succeeded in bringing a certain Humestian prince into the Faith. He was baptized, along with all his people. He would not, however, accept Patrick’s teaching on the resurrection from the dead. It seemed beyond all possibility that a human person, once dead and in some manner of decomposition could ever be raised to a pristine condition and improved nature. The Saint made various attempts to convince him, with references to Scripture, examples and signs, but the man would not be shaken. He then challenged Patrick, saying that if Patrick raised his own grandfather, who had been buried many days, he would believe.

Patrick then went to the grandfather’s tomb, accompanied by the prince and all the people. Patrick made the sign of the cross over it with his staff and ordered that the tomb be opened. He prayed devoutly and did raise the buried man to life. This man then related to those present the torments of hell and implored St. Patrick, first for baptism, and second for the Eucharist. Patrick consented to both requests. The man then returned to his place in the tomb and his former state.

No one doubted further St. Patrick’s teaching on the life that exists after this one.

It is reported that St. Patrick himself wrote of this incident and others like it in a letter to a friend who lived across the sea.

See O’Leary, Rev. James, D.D., The Most Ancient Lives of St. Patrick (New York: P.J. Kennedy, 7th ed., 1880) p. 228-29. An ebook version, The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Most Ancient Lives of St. Patrick, by Various, ed. by James O’Leary, can be viewed at; see chap. LXXXII.


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