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Who was Saint Patrick?

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St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who is credited for bringing Christanity to the country. Myth also has us believe that St. Patrick banished all the snakes from Ireland.

St. Patrick was born in Wales, not Ireland, around 385 AD.

He was called Maewyen by his family, and folklore says he was a pagan until the age of 16.

He was sold into slavery by Irish marauders when they raided his village in Wales. It was during this time he found God.

After six years in captivity, Patrick escaped and fled to Gaul, modern-day Frace, and studied for 12 years under St. Germain, Bishop of Auxerre.

During this time, St. Patrick became aware it was his duty to convert pagans into Christians.

He wanted to go to Ireland. At first, he was refused. The higher power had sent St. Palladius. But St. Patrick’s time came two years later. Palladius was transferred to Scotland, and Patrick was appointed the second bishop of Ireland.

People were taken in by the Welsh man. Hoards of people began to convert to Christianity, but the Celtic Druids, rulers of Ireland, were not impressed.

He was arrested but managed to escape each time.

The story goes that St. Patrick converted the warrior chief and their women, baptizing them all in the holy wells of Ireland.

Throughout his travels of Ireland, he established monasteries, schools and churches.

His mission in Ireland lasted 30 years. He retired in Co. Down, and died on March 17, 465 AD, hence the name St. Patrick’s Day.

There have been several things written about this death. One story lends us to believe that St. Patrick died in Downpatrick. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often brought out during childbirth, epileptic fits and to shone away evil.

Another story tells it that St. Patrick ended his days in Glastonbury, England, and was buried there. There is a chapel of St. Patrick in Glastonbury Abbey.

Over the years, researchers discovered written quotes by St. Patrick.

He described himself as a "most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God."

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