Friday, February 26, 2010

Saint Patrick: Pioneer Missionary to Ireland

Here's an easy read to prepare for and get into the spirit of Saint Patrick's Day coming up on March 17.

Christian Liberty Press published Saint Patrick:  Pioneer Missionary to Ireland by Michael J. McHugh in 1999.  Christian Liberty has been publishing Christian homeschool and school curriculum materials for 25 years as part of the ministry of the Church of Christian Liberty.  Saint Patrick is a supplementary work of historical fiction used to enrich the study of the Ancient History (late 4th to late 5th century AD) by late elementary through middle school students.

If a reader questions the accuracy of a biography written in and published for a Christian community, McHugh states in the Introduction, "I have endeavored, as much as possible, to present only those details which rest upon solid historical records."  This is indeed possible because late in life, St. Patrick wrote the Confessio or what is known today as The Confession of St. Patrick, a brief autobiography describing in detail his life and ministry.  Dr. Paul D. Lindstrom, Superintendent of Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools in 1999, wrote "Michael McHugh[ ] has done a masterful job of making Patrick's life come alive so that the younger generation can grasp the significance of the famous missionary."

Although I am not a member of the Church of Christian Liberty,  I found the many references and prayers to God, appearing throughout this description of St Patrick's intriguing and adventurous life, to be quite believable.  No one can know what went on inside an historical figure's mind, but after all, he did convert a once predominantly pagan nation into a devoutly Christian one. It would seem plausible that St. Patrick would think about and pray fervent prayers to God as often as the thoughts and prayers appear in this book.

All in all, I recommend this publication as an exciting and eventful work to start becoming acquainted with St. Patrick and to begin to understand the importance of this man's ministry, not only in Ireland, but to all countries, including the U.S., who have a rich Irish heritage.

For further research and verification to gain information and facts about St. Patrick's life,  I would recommend reading many of the works listed in the bibliography of Saint Patrick:  Pioneer Missionary to Ireland plus the Confessio itself.

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