Today is St. Patrick’s Day, probably the most celebrated of saints’ days. Rivers and beers are green, and everyone claims to be Irish.
St. Patrick isn’t even Irish. He was born in Britain to a Romano-British family in the fourth century. He was raised Christian. When he was 16, he was kidnapped by raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. He worked as an enslaved herdsman for six years before he escaped and went to Gaul to study to become a priest.
By 432, he was a bishop. He felt called to return to Ireland. He preached for 30 years, converted the Irish from polytheism to Christianity. Folklore says he used the shamrock to describe the Trinity. He died on March 17, 461.
There is also the legend that St. Patrick banished all the snakes from Ireland. Although there never were any native snakes on the island, the story reflects back to Moses and Aaron, who use their staffs (which morph into snakes) to fight Pharaoh’s sorcerers. Patrick is seen as driving out the Druid influence in Ireland.