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St. Patrick – Resurrection Miracles

 

Our Lady of the Rosary Library

 

Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)

J.M.J.

Feast of St. Patrick – March 17

 

 

RESURRECTION MIRACLES PERFORMED BY ST. PATRICK,

APOSTLE OF IRELAND

“He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life; and
I will raise him up in the last day.” (John 6:55)
It has been said that St. Patrick (c. 389-c. 461) performed a thousand
miracles. And why not? Many more (40,000) were prudently attributed to St.
Vincent Ferrer (
http://www.olrl.org/lives/ferrer.shtml), the Dominican
missionary and “Angel of Judgment.”

Moreover, the author knows of no saint for whom there are claimed so many
resurrection miracles during one apostolic lifetime as for St. Patrick;
there were as many as 39 of these wonders. Thirty-three are mentioned in
one specific report:

“For the blind and the lame, the deaf and the dumb, the palsied, the
lunatic, the leprous, the epileptic, all who labored under any disease, did
he in the Name of the Holy Trinity restore unto the power of their limbs
and unto entire health; and in these good deeds was he daily practiced.
Thirty and three dead men, some of whom had been many years buried, did
this great reviver raise from the dead, as above we have more fully
recorded.”

The above is quoted from “The Life and Acts of St. Patrick”, translated
from the original Latin of Jocelin, Cistercian monk of Furnes of the 12th
century, by Edmund L. Swift, Esq., Dublin, 1809. A writer that far back
probably had sources not available 800 years or more later. Paul Gallico
(in “The Steadfast Man”) wrote the following concerning the value of
tradition: “Tradition is sometimes more to be trusted than written records,
and particularly in a country such as Ireland, where in the early days
there was no written record and history was handed down by the poets in the
form of sagas, and memory was cultivated far beyond what it is today. In
pre-Christian Ireland every educated man’s head was the storehouse for the
archives of the nation.”

St. Patrick was a great missionary bishop who converted a whole land from
paganism, overturning the religion of the druids. He consecrated 350
bishops, erected 700 churches, and ordained 5,000 priests. In less than 30
years the greater part of Ireland was Catholic; St. Patrick so consolidated
it in the Christian faith that during the Protestant Revolt Ireland was
almost unique in its preservation of the Faith. Even today, people speak of
“the faith of the Irish.”

It is hard, indeed impossible, to comprehend such a vast and enduring
transformation without the visible support of God through great works and
wonders. But that is what Christ promised to His Apostles, and it has been
historically demonstrated in the well-attested lives of His great
missionary
saints.

St. Patrick himself has personally attested to some of these signs and
wonders: “And let those who will, laugh and scorn–I shall not be silent;
nor shall I hide the signs and wonders which the Lord has shown me many
years before they came to pass, as He knows everything even before the
times of the world.” This seems to apply in particular to his prophetic
dream-visions.

In his “Letters” (as in his “Confessions” and his “Letter to Coroticus”),
Patrick wrote such things as: “I was not worthy… that He should bestow on
me so great grace toward that nation.” And: “I baptized in the Lord so many
thousands of persons.” And: “that many people through me should be
regenerated to God.” Patrick also wrote: “that I might imitate, in some
degree, those whom the Lord long ago foretold would herald His Gospel, for
a witness to all nations before the end of the world.” St. Patrick
indicated that the Holy Spirit was within him, and he compared himself with
St. Paul in a reference to the “unspeakable groanings” of the Holy Spirit.
Further, the ancient author quotes from a reputed “epistle” (letter) of St.
Patrick to a friend in a country beyond the sea:

“The Lord hath given to me, though humble, the power of working miracles
among a barbarous people, such as are not recorded to have been worked by
the great Apostles; inasmuch as, in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I
have raised from the dead bodies that have been buried many years; but I
beseech you, let no one believe that for these or the like works I am to be
at all equaled with the Apostles, or with any perfect man, since I am
humble, and a sinner, and worthy only to be despised.”

Perhaps because of rumors and his fame St. Patrick was trying to put things
in proper perspective. The word “humble,” in his usage, probably meant
“lowly” or “insignificant.” The author of the ancient manuscript observes
that he admired the greatness of Patrick’s humility more than his raising
of the dead. Patrick himself knew well that his abundance of charismatic
gifts (given by God for the glory of God and the benefit of others), far
from making him holy, could be a great liability.

Despite his limited number of references to his own greatness, and despite
their modesty, it is obvious to anyone familiar with great missionary
saints that the spiritual greatness indicated above and displayed in
Patrick’s life would also call for the marvelous gifts often accompanying
such apostles – the most common of which is the working of numerous
miracles, including the raising of the dead.

Anyone could gather from his writings, and also from the results of his
apostolate of 20-30 years, that St. Patrick was a resolute, steadfast “iron
man”; he was a bishop who established monastic discipline in a pagan land,
who apparently baptized hundreds of thousands, who converted princes and
turned pagan princesses into virgin nuns, who converted the worshipers of
idols and the sun and impure things, and who organized and built many
churches, leaving behind priests to care for souls. These were the
tremendous and enduring accomplishments in one apostle’s missionary
lifetime.

St. Patrick’s was an achievement unique in history. Thus it would seem to
be a moral certainty that St. Patrick raised the dead on several occasions.
This chapter has been cut down from an originally much longer
manuscript-chapter on his reported raisings of the dead, because of the
lack of historical records on these matters. Herein are presented only the
best substantiated cases.

Since St. Patrick is claimed to have worked 33 resurrection miracles, it
seems a moral certitude that he truly must have worked at least a good
number of such wonders, even if the count of 33 may not be exactly
accurate. (Some details may be confused, and thus two slightly different
accounts could actually refer to the same event.) It is only fair to report
at least several of these.

One day St. Patrick came to a place called Fearta. On the side of the hill
two women had buried. Patrick ordered the earth removed; in the Name of
Christ, he raised them up. The two proclaimed that their idols were vain
and that Christ was the true God. Along with the women, many bystanders
were baptized. As the ancient writer observes, Patrick not only revived
these two from a double death (both temporal and eternal death), but by
this miracle he gave spiritual resurrection to many other souls.

When Patrick came to Dublina he prophesied how great that small village
would someday become. He also caused a fountain to spring up there. It
happened that in the region nearby, the young son of the king lay dead in
his chamber. The sorrow over his death was compounded when it was learned
that his sister, who had gone to bathe in the neighboring river, had
drowned in midstream. Her body was finally found resting on the riverbed,
and was laid out beside that of her brother. Tombs were prepared for both
according to pagan custom.

At this sorrowful time the rumor spread that Patrick of Ardmachia (Armagh),
who in the Name of the Unknown God had raised many that were dead, had
arrived in the village. The king, Alphimus, promised that he, his nobles,
and the whole “city” would be baptized into the new faith if his two
children were restored. Patrick, seeing the opportunity for a great gain of
souls, raised them both to life.

By the physical resurrection of the prince and princess, the spiritual
resurrection of the whole area from the darkness of paganism and idolatry
was accomplished. And the temporary resurrection of bodies (that is, until
they died again) gave a promise of eternal life in Heaven and of the
resurrection of the body on Judgment Day.

After the raising of this royal brother and sister, churches were built and
tributes appointed to Patrick as their patron, that is, as the first
Archbishop (or Bishop) of Ardmachia. It is reputedly from the revived
Princess Dublina that the present great city of Dublin got its name.
In the country of Neyll, a King Echu allowed St. Patrick to receive his
beloved daughter Cynnia as a nun, though he bewailed the fact that his
royal line would thereby end without issue. The king exacted a promise from
Patrick not to insist that he be baptized, yet to promise him the heavenly
kingdom. Patrick agreed, and left the matter in the hands of God.

Sometime later King Echu lay dying. He sent a messenger to St. Patrick to
tell him he desired Baptism and the heavenly kingdom. To those around him
the King gave an order that he not be buried until Patrick came. Patrick,
then in the monastery of Saballum, two days’ journey away, knew of the
situation through the Holy Spirit before the messenger even arrived. He
left to go to the King, but arrived to find Echu dead.

St. Patrick revived the King, instructed him, and baptized him. He asked
Echu to relate what he had seen of the joys of the just and the pains of
the wicked, so that his account could be used for the proving of Patrick’s
preaching. Echu told of many other-world wonders and of how, in the
heavenly country, he had seen the place that Patrick promised him. But the
King could not enter in because he was unbaptized.

Then St. Patrick asked Echu if he would rather live longer in this world,
or go to the place prepared for him in the heavenly kingdom. The King
answered that all the world had was emptiest smoke compared to the
celestial joys. Then having received the Eucharist, he fell asleep in the
Lord.

There was a prince in Humestia who was baptized. Later he expressed
unbelief about the doctrine of the Resurrection. After St. Patrick quoted
various texts from the Scriptures, the prince said that if Patrick would
raise his grandfather, by then buried many days, he would believe in that
Resurrection which Patrick preached.

Patrick signed the tomb of the grandfather with his staff, had it opened,
and prayed. A man of very great height, but not as big as a “giant” who had
recently been raised from a huge tomb by Patrick, came forth from the tomb.
He described the torments that went on in Hell, and was baptized. He
received the Eucharist, and retired again to his former sepulcher and
“slept in the Lord.” After witnessing this miracle none doubted the truth
of the Resurrection.

On another occasion a band of men who hated St. Patrick falsely accused him
and his companions of stealing, and sentenced them to death. Patrick raised
a man from a nearby tomb and commanded him to witness to the truth of the
case, which the resurrected man did. He protested the innocence of Patrick
and his companions and the deceit of the evil ones. In the presence of all,
the resurrected man also showed where the alleged stolen goods–some
flax–were hidden. Many of those who had conspired for the death of St.
Patrick now became his converts.

It is interesting to note that each of the miracles related here was aimed
at establishing truth, besides doing good to various individuals. Here is a
final example.

An evil man named Machaldus, and his companions, who placed on their heads
certain diabolical signs called “Deberth,” signifying their devotion to
Satan, plotted to mock St. Patrick. They covered one of their group,
Garbanus, with a cloak as if he were dead. Garbanus, though in perfect
health, was placed on a couch as if laid out in preparation for burial. The
men then sent for Patrick, asking him to raise the covered Garbanus from
the dead. This was a fatal mistake.

St. Patrick told them it was with deceit, but not with falsehood, that they
had declared their companion dead. Disregarding their entreaties, Patrick
went on his way, praying for the soul of the derider.
Then, uncovering their friend, the plotters found Garbanus not feigning
death, but actually dead! Contrite of heart, they pursued St. Patrick; they
obtained pardon and were baptized. At their entreaty, St. Patrick also
revived the dead Garbanus.

The same once-evil Machaldus became a great penitent, a bishop eminent in
holiness and miracles, and became known as “St. Machaldus.”
Patrick also once raised to life a dead horse belonging to the charioteer
of Darius. He also restored to the charioteer the health he had lost after
accusing Patrick of killing the horse.

One wonders why men question and marvel so at the “miracles of the saints”
as if these were really their own miracles? If one thinks of these wonders
as being primarily the miracles of God, which they are, why marvel? They
are not “miracles” for God; for Him they are quite “ordinary” actions.
In the appendices at the end of Jocelin’s “Life of St. Patrick”, in the
“Selections from the Elucidations” of David Rothe, sometime bishop of
Ossory, that bishop quotes another learned bishop: “Credulity may enter
even the most virtuous mind; but when eminent men decline from this
readiness of belief they fall into the opposite error, and become
incredulous, while there is little fault in credulity, but much
incredulity.”

Let no one doubt that the Lord gave to the humble Patrick the gift of
raising the dead to life–for the glory of God, the proof of the True
Faith, and the salvation of countless souls.

—————————————————————-

This article on St. Patrick is a chapter from “Saints Who Raised the Dead,
True Stories of 400 Resurrection Miracles”, by Fr. Albert J. Hebert, S. M.
(TAN Books –
http://www.tanbooks.com/).
The article is available on our website at
http://www.olrl.org/lives/patrick.shtml.

St. Patrick, pray for us.

Sincerely in Christ,
Our Lady of the Rosary Library
“Pray and work for souls”

http://olrl.org

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