Fleming, Patrick (1599–1631), Franciscan friar and scholar, was born on 17 April 1599 at Bel atha Lagan, Clonkeen, Co. Louth, the son of Gerald Fleming and Elizabeth Cusack of Cushintown. He was baptised Christopher and was a pious and hard-working child. At the age of thirteen he was sent into the care of his uncle Christopher Cusack, administrator of the Irish colleges in Flanders, to ensure his catholic upbringing. Having studied humanities at Douai, he proceeded to the Franciscan college of St Anthony of Padua at Louvain. On 17 March 1617 he began his novitiate in that order and, exactly one year later, he made his solemn profession, taking the name Patrick.
On completion of his studies in 1623, he was chosen to accompany Hugh MacCaghwell (qv), visitator of the order, to Rome. En route to Rome, they passed through Paris, where Fleming became friendly with Father Hugh Ward (qv); the two men shared an interest in collecting material relating to Irish saints. During his journey and visit to Rome, Fleming visited many libraries, including those at Bobbio and Clairvaux, sending to Ward any information he discovered in relation to Irish saints. While in Rome, he composed a sketch about MacCaghwell, who had been appointed primate of Armagh; part of the sketch was incorporated by Vernulaeus in his panegyric on MacCaghwell. On his return journey to Louvain, he stopped at Regensburg, there writing a compendium to the chronicle of the Irish monastery of St Peter.
After his return from Rome, Fleming held the chair of philosophy and theology at Louvain. In 1630, because of his reputation for scholarship and his family connections, he was appointed the first superior and lecturer in divinity of the newly founded Irish college in Prague. He set out for Prague in November 1630 in the company of Father Gerald Fitzgerald. When he reached the city, he set about establishing the college, purchasing a site for 2,100 florins on 4 April 1631. The solemn opening of the College of the Immaculate Conception took place on 6 July 1631 and, a month later, Fleming left for Vienna to try to secure a permanent endowment for the college from the emperor. He was unsuccessful and he returned to Prague, where, during the autumn of 1631, protestant military successes led to a general exodus of catholic clergy from the city. The Franciscans left for Vienna in two groups, with Fleming and Brother Mathew Hore being among the second group to leave. On 7 November 1631, near Beneschau, they were attacked by a group of peasants and both men were killed. Fleming's body was taken to the nearby monastery at Voticium, where he was buried.
Before going to Prague in 1630, Fleming left his writings on St Columbanus and other Irish saints with Moretus, a printer in Antwerp. This work remained unpublished for more than thirty years, until it was edited by Thomas O'Sherrin, jubilate lector of divinity at Louvain, who published it as Collectanea sacra in 1667.