The Missionary, Excerpt by Rowena Kinread

Patricius, a young man of Britannia, is taken from his home and family when Gaelic pirates attack his village. On his arrival in Ireland, he is sold as a slave to the cruel underking of the Dalriada tribe in the north. Six years later, Patricius manages to escape. His journey takes him through France to Ravenna in Italy. His subsequent plans to return to Britannia are side-tracked when he finds himself accompanying several monks to the island monastery on Lerinus. His devotion to his faith, honed during his captivity, grows as he studies with the monks.Haunted by visions of the Gaels begging him to return to Ireland and share the word of God with them, Patricius gains support from Rome and his friends to return to the land of his captivity. His arrival is bitterly opposed by the druids, who have held power over the Irish kings for many years, and he and his companions must combat the druids to succeed in their God-given mission.


At dusk, Patricius and five men approached the fortress of Tara once again. The druids, upon seeing them, raced towards them with blades and clubs. With an ease and swiftness of practice, Patricius and his men pulled the brambles aside, entered the tunnel and, disguising the entrance once again, moved rapidly along the tunnel, exiting where Robertus was awaiting them with the horses. They mounted quickly and rode speedily away.

By the time the druids arrived where they had seen Patricius and his men standing, they had disappeared.

“Where are they?” they asked each other. “They cannot be gone far.”

“There!” A druid pointed to a hill on the other side of the valley where Patricius and his men could just be discerned galloping away on their horses. “Deer! They have turned into deer!”

Not wanting to believe this, the druids searched a while longer, but they could find no trace of Patricius and his men. They returned to the Great Hall in Tara and reported their failed mission to Laeghaire. Laeghaire was feasting in his palace together with kings, princes and nobles. He jumped up and thumped his fists down on the table. Plates clattered and cups upturned. “Do I have to do everything myself?” he raged “You are a useless bunch of do-no-goods! Go, leave! I cannot bear the sight of you all.” Then he let himself fall back onto his throne and exasperated took a large swig of red wine.

Suddenly Patricius and his five companions appeared in their midst. The door had been locked but still Patricius, Lupus and four men loomed abruptly among the High King and his guests.

“You invited me and my men to come and teach you the word of our Lord.” Patricius spoke as if nothing had occurred.

“Ye… yes, indeed.” Laeghaire quickly hid his astonishment. “Come and sit down at my table. Servants!” he called, clapping his hands. “Bring food and drink for our guests.”

Lucetmael, the druid, wore a massive chunky gold ring on his left forefinger. It was adorned with a large emerald which concealed a small hollow filled with poison. Passing a silver cup of wine to Patricius, Lucetmael smiled to him welcomingly, disguising his hatred. Covering his left hand with the sleeve of his robe, he pressed a catch on his ring to release a drop of poison into Patricius’ cup. Patricius waited until his men also had wine, then, rising from their seats, they crossed themselves and blessed the wine.

“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.” They raised their cups to their lips.

Laeghaire and his company looked on, dumbfounded. Leaning in close to each other so that Patricius and his men could not hear them, they asked one another, “What are they mumbling? And why do they make strange signs?”

Lupus used the distraction to sprinkle a substance into Patricius’ cup. The wine froze to ice, solely the poison remained liquid. Patricius turned his cup upside down and the poison fell out. Then he blessed his cup again and the wine returned to its natural state. Lucetmael looked on angrily as Laeghaire became impressed.

“Tell me,” Laeghaire asked, “what do you mean with ‘the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’?”

“Come outside with me,” Patricius invited Laeghaire, “and I shall show you.”

The company went outdoors and Patricius plucked a shamrock from the grass.

“It is no mystery,” he told Laeghaire, handing him the three-leaved shamrock. “The greatest secret of heaven lies smiling in the sun beneath your feet. This is one leaf, yet it is parted in three. It represents the Trinity, where we acknowledge God’s existence as three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each of them is separate from one another and yet they are identical and one God. This is the Sign of the Three in One. Each is fully divine and although distinctly separate, they are one God. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”

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Meet Rowena Kinread

Rowena Kinread grew up in Ripon, Yorkshire. After leaving school she started working for Lufthansa in Stuttgart. There she met her future husband whom she married in Ripon. After raising 3 children, she began working as a secretary in a private physiotherapy practice. At the same time, she started writing non-fiction books and magazine articles. Retirement finally brought the financial security to start writing full length fiction. A keen interest in history and her own family ancestry inspired her debut novel “The Missionary”, the dramatic story about the life of St.Patrick.  A second book “The Scots of Dalriada” will be published this year. Ms. Kinread says that she welcomed retirement and all its wonderful opportunities to launch a third career.

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