Did you know that St. Patrick was the Patron Saint of Ireland? Rumour has it that he was known for banishing all snakes from Ireland, but this rumour was sensationalized by gossip. He was actually born in Britain to a well-to-do family.
At 16 years old he was taken slave by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. The Irish raiders brought him to Ireland where he was held captive for 6 years. As a slave he worked as a shepherd away from people but outside.
Though his father was a deacon, it was never expressed that his family was ever very religious. During his time in captivity he became a very devoted Christian. After more than six years and a few religious revelations, Patrick escaped back to Britain. It was during this time that one of his religious revelations led him back to Ireland, now as a Priest he sought out to minister Christians living in Ireland and also to convert the Irish.
At the time most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion though there were few Irish to convert. Since the Irish were centered on oral legend and myth it is not a great shock that over time Patrick’s story was varied and sensationalized.
We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 as it is the anniversary of his death and holds both religious and cultural significance.