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Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, although he was not born there. He was believed to have been born
about the year 389, AD in southwestern Britain. It was a small village "where three roads meet," as he later described in
his writing.
At age 16 he was captured by Irish raiders, sold as a slave and forced to work as a shepherd for six years. He
sought relief from his predicament through prayer. He claimed to have seen visions in which he was urged to escape by
boat. He did so, sailing to the northern coast of Gaul, (now France.) Ordained as a priest, Patrick returned to Ireland.
Patrick was appointed, sometime after the year 431 successor to St. Palladius, first bishop of Ireland.
Concentrating on the west and northern section of Ireland, Patrick worked to convert the masses to Christianity. In
addition, he founded numerous monasteries, churches, and schools. At one time there were more than 60 churches and
cathedrals named for him on the emerald isle. The largest is St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, the site on which he is said
to have baptized his converts.
Legend says Patrick had a time trying to convince the people to believe in the Holy Trinity. Upon reflection,
plucked a shamrock from the earth and pointed to the three leaves on the plant. This he said, was living proof of the
Holy Trinity. Since then the shamrock has become the symbol of the land of Ireland.
Another legends says Patrick drove all of the snakes out of Ireland, or at least into the sea.
Every March 17, all of Ireland, plus America and other parts of the world celebrate the anniversary of his death
in 463 AD