St. Patrick was born into a Christian family in Britain around 389. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest, as this was before the mandate of celibacy for Christian clergymen. Despite his Christian background, Patrick did not seriously embrace religion. At the age of 15, Patrick committed some sort of wrong doing which tortured his soul for the rest of his life.
When Patrick was 16, he and some other youths were taken as captives to Ireland. As a slave for 6 years tending flocks, he had ample time to reflect on his past life. It is during this period that he realized the importance of his religion and turned to God in constant prayer and fasting. Heeding a voice he heard in a dream, he made a successful escape attempt with a plan to return to his homeland.
The Legend of St. Patrick
Many legends remain about the feats of this man and his deeds. One of the most popular is the account of Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland. Some adhere strongly to this belief. Others believe that the snakes are a symbol of the pagans that he converted to Christianity.
Another famous legend concerns the shamrock, the National Plant of Ireland. It is said that Patrick used the three leaves on the shamrock plant to demonstrate the three persons in one God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The belief is that he used this in his preaching to convert people to Christianity.
Patrick lived in poverty his entire life, giving all that he had to further his cause. He was an honest and dedicated man, pious in his faith. His belief that he was doing God’s bidding and his conviction that God would take care of him remained secure to his dying days. It is said that he died on March 17, 461.