Facts about Saint Patrick

Born: c. 385
Died: c. 461
Birthplace: Bannavem Taberniae, Britannia (now the United Kingdom)
Best known as: Ireland's most famous saint


Saint Patrick Biography

Saint Patrick is the Catholic saint who is celebrated each year on March 17th, which is called Saint Patrick’s Day. He is revered by Christians for establishing the church in Ireland during the fifth century AD.

The precise dates and details of Saint Patrick’s life are unclear, but some points are generally agreed: as a teen he was captured and sold into slavery in Ireland, and six years later he escaped to Gaul (now France) where he later became a monk. Around 432 he returned to Ireland as a missionary and succeeded in converting many of the island’s tribes to Christianity. Late in life he wrote a brief text, Confessio, detailing his life and ministry. (It is now known as The Confession of St. Patrick.)

A popular folk tale says that Saint Patrick chased all snakes from Ireland, but there is no historical basis for this story. Another folk tale, that Saint Patrick used shamrocks to teach about the holy Trinity, is also generally agreed to be a myth.

The feast day of Saint Patrick, March 17, is celebrated as a day of Irish pride in many parts of the world.

Extra credit

In Gaelic the saint’s name is Padraig… In his Confessio, Saint Patrick says he was born in a village called Bannavem Taberniae. That village no longer exists (if it ever did) and its location is unknown. Based on other comments made by Saint Patrick in the Confessio, Bannavem Taberniae is widely guessed to have been located somewhere on the western shore of Great Britain.


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