I Am Patrick
John Rhys-Davies, Moe Dunford, Toni O’Rourke, Seán T. Ó Meallaigh
123 min. • March 2020 release
Not Rated • fathomevents.com
According to dubious legend, St. Patrick used a shamrock to teach the pagans of Ireland about the Trinity and banished snakes from the island. In the U.S., his feast is an occasion for celebrating Irish pride with colorful parades and “wearing of the green.” Although the historical St. Patrick wasn’t Irish to begin with, and wasn’t the first to introduce Christianity to Ireland, his heroism and deep sense of mission throughout the land is a rightful source of Irish Catholic pride, one that exerted profound influence on the history of the Catholic Church worldwide.
A new documentary film releasing in March, I Am Patrick, relates the true story of this great fifth-century “Apostle to Ireland” as told by Patrick himself in his Confessions and his Epistle to Coroticus. Through expert interviews, narrative voice-overs, and dramatic re-enactments, his amazing life unfolds and the authentic Patrick emerges.
The son of a British deacon, Patrick was kidnapped at 16 in a pirate raid and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped after six years and found his way home, only to receive visions calling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He became a priest and a year later was dispatched to the island, where he converted thousands of pagans over many decades. Later named bishop, he ordained many priests, established churches, and oversaw the expansion of consecrated monastic life. From this foundation, Ireland eventually would spawn ample vocations to provide missionary priests and religious throughout the world.
It wasn’t smooth sailing. Patrick repeatedly faced personal attacks, beatings, robberies, and imprisonment for his apostolic deeds. But what comes through in his Confessions and the film is his deep faith and profound humility, knowing the good he accomplished was not by his own merit.
GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.