St. written by Patrick sharing his personal emotional

St.
Patrick of Ireland: A Biography was written by Philip Freeman, he tells the story of
the life and history of St. Patrick, the story
was about the time of the collapse of the Roman power and the Irish who raided
isolated British farms. The book shares
graphic details that summoned the reader to become engrossed and captivated by the story of St. Patrick’s
journey of his life before being enslaved, escaping, returning home and also
returning to the land where he was enslaved to preach the word. Freeman started
out by introducing readers a look into the world Patrick lived in before his
brutal capture and enslaved.  Also, he did
an excellent job shedding more light on Patrick’s life by using information obtained
from archaeological discoveries, Greek and Roman writings, and preserved Irish
traditions. In Patrick’s biography were two significant letters, they are the ‘Letter
to the Soldiers of Coroticus and Confession which was written by Patrick
sharing his personal emotional state and opinions. According to Freeman, “the
first letter was about appeal and condemnation
to slave-raiding king and his mercenary pirates; and the second letter was a
defense of his work against accusations by fellow churchmen. These letters allowed
readers to view the mind of a remarkable
man living in a crumbling world and the beginning of a new era” (p. xviii). Freeman tells a captivating
story of St. Patrick that draws the reader into the story with the use of historical proof, prolific details, and
accounts given by Patrick himself. 

The author of the book
begins the biography of St. Patrick with him as a child at his family estate in
Britain. St. Patrick rebelled against the faith of his parents at a very young
age.  He was born into a family of
prestige and lived an aristocratic lifestyle but one day that came to a sudden end
when pirates raided his family estates and he was captured, he was transported
on across the sea to Ireland, and was sold into a life of brutal slavery where
he worked on a farm for six years. It was at this time while in slavery, St. Patrick
began to seek the Lord’s face and had a spiritual awakening which came in the
form of visions and warnings. Eventually, St. Patrick found a way to escape
aboard a ship with pagan sailors and made it back to his family in Britain (p. xviii). 

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Freeman continues his story of St. Patrick by using
Patrick’s original writings and other genuine documents to tell the story of Patrick’s
extraordinary life. Freeman made sure to use information
from reliable sources like history, anthropology, and sociology to plug
the holes the “missing years of St. Patrick life and keep it as accurate as
possible (p. 56). He fills in the gap by discussing in-depth the period
before Patrick became a bishop and returned to Ireland to share the gospel of
Christ to the people.  On his arrival to Ireland Patrick wrote, ” I came to Ireland to preach the good
news…. I have had many hard times, even before the point of being enslaved
again, but I traded in my free birth for the good of others (p. 68).”  Freeman went into grave detail and in-depth description of Patrick’s missionary work in Ireland and the
many difficulties he faced on a daily basis like
kidnapping, robbery, and other violence. 
Some years, later some new converts were murdered and out of anger St.
Patrick wrote an angry letter to the soldiers of Coroticus (p.165). Here, Freeman
did an excellent job of translating Patrick’s Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus in which St. Patrick expressed
himself angrily to Coroticus and in this letter was a prayer and very strong plea.
There was also a second letter written by St. Patrick,
‘Confession’, this second letter was written:
“to answer critics, to encourage his Irish followers, and a final testimony to
God (p. 149).”

However, the book’s
strengths greatly outweigh its
weaknesses. The strength of the book was mainly due to the fact that Freeman
did extensive research before writing it
and he also made sure to avoid fiction by
using Patrick’s personal writings. He
also used other sources to tell the story of St. Patricks life by using details
from history, anthropology, and sociology
to fill missing information.  He was also
very precise and concise in the manner in which he laid out the life of
Patrick. The book was captivating because of the details in which the author relates the story of a young man, kidnapped and
enslaved in a foreign land. It’s details of the way how he finally escaped and return
home to spend the final years of his life
sharing Christ.  His returned to Ireland
was not an enjoyable one but one where he
suffered a lot from violence, pagans, robbers and even his own church to
evangelize the Irish.

Freeman’s greatest strength
was his ability to write original manner by
using detailed historical and documental evidence to support his writing and
stayed away from fictional information.  Freeman
certainly did what he set out to do in his book by introducing readers to look
into the world Patrick lived in before his brutal capture, shedding light on
Patrick’s life by using information obtained from archaeological discoveries,
Greek and Roman writings, and preserved Irish traditions. Freeman did an excellent
job sharing the two significant letters of St. Patrick, the letter is as follows: ‘Letter to the Soldiers of
Coroticus and Confession”.  The two letters
were written at a late in St. Patrick life which shares his personal emotional state and opinions before he passes.  According
to Freeman, “the first letter was about appeal and condemnation to slave-raiding
king and his mercenary pirates; and the second letter was a defense of his work
against accusations by fellow churchmen.The author definitely appealed to the
reader’s emotions by including the completed translations of Patrick’s letters
in his biography. The letters ultimately showed the
deep religious beliefs and feelings even as an old man.  In the letter Confession, St. Patrick opens with, “I
am Patrick—a sinner—the most unsophisticated and unworthy among all the
faithful of God.  In the deed to many, I am the
most despised” (143).  The book had some weaknesses as well, some of the weakness
includes the choice of words that was used which showed that he was not sure of the validity of the information or facts.  Another weakness was the information
Freeman offers about St. Patrick’s ‘missing years’, information was very limited.

In conclusion, I would say that this book is
certainly worth the read and it is quite informative. Additionally,
the level of writing is easily digested and understood by anyone young or old.
The readability is very easy to follow and even though it was sad at times with
inhumane treatments, nevertheless, it was worthwhile reading.   I would recommend St. Patrick of Ireland to
anyone and especially theology students. 
 I for one will certainly be
reading more of Dr. Freeman’s books!