In the late 4th or early 5th century, Patrick was growing up in an aristocratic family in what is now northeast England. At about the age of 16 he was captured by Celtic pirates from Ireland and sold into slavery. For about the next six years Patrick was a cattle herder for a prosperous tribal chief. During these years Patrick experienced three profound changes. First, during days in solitude in the beautiful wilderness he encountered God and became a man of prayer. Second, he developed a keen understanding of the Celtic peoples. Third, he came to love his captors and developed a deep hope that they would have reconciliation with God.
One night, after six years of captivity, a voice spoke to Patrick in a dream saying, “You are going home. Look! Your ship is ready.” The voice directed him to flee for his freedom the next morning. He awakened before daybreak, walked to a seacoast, saw athe ship, and negotiated his way on board.
"At the central railway station in Madras, India, lay a beggar woman more pitiful than the others I saw there. She had positioned herself alongside the stream of passengers hurrying to catch their trains. Businessmen with briefcases passed by her, as did wealthy tourists and government officials.
Like many Indian beggars, the woman was emaciated, with sunken cheeks and eyes and bony limbs. But, paradoxically, a huge mass of plump skin, round and sleek like a sausage, was growing from her side. It lay beside her like a formless baby, connected to her by a broad bridge of skin. The woman had exposed her flank with its grotesque deformity to give her an advantage in the rivalry for pity. Though I only saw her briefly, I felt sure that the growth was a lipoma, a tumor of fat cells. It was part of her and yet not, as if some surgeon had carved a hunk of fat out of a three hundred pound person, wrapped in in live skin, and deftly sewed it on this woman. She was starving; she feebly held up a spidery hand for alms. But her tumor was thriving, nearly equaling the weight of the rest of her body. It gleamed in the sun, exuding health, sucking lie from her."