Patrick of Ireland +460 AD
Feast Day: March 17
St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland and the subject of pious legends about driving out snakes from the Emerald Isle, was actually born into a Roman family in present-day Great Britain during the late fourth century. At 14, Patrick was captured by pirates and taken to pagan Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Around age 20, he escaped to Britain.
Patrick later went to France, where he became a priest and bishop. In a dream, God called him to Ireland. For more than 40 years, he evangelized Ireland, preaching the Gospel, founding monasteries and dioceses, and converting thousands to Christianity.
Legends have spread over the centuries, including the account of Patrick using the shamrock to teach the Irish about the doctrine of the Trinity. St. Patrick’s Breastplate, a popular prayer, is attributed to him. Tradition holds that he wrote it in 433 before successfully converting the Irish king to Christianity It’s unclear when and where Patrick died. It’s believed he died on March 17, 460, at Saul, Downpatrick; others suggest he died closer to 493 and is buried at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.