kids encyclopedia robot

Saint Patrick facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick Catholic Church (Junction City, Ohio) - stained glass, Saint Patrick - detail.jpg
Stained-glass window of St. Patrick from Saint Patrick Catholic Church, Junction City, Ohio
Born Roman Britain
Venerated in Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Anglican Communion
Lutheran Churches
Major shrine Armagh, Northern Ireland
Glastonbury Abbey, England
Feast 17 March (Saint Patrick's Day)
Patronage Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, Archdiocese of New York, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, Boston, Rolla, Missouri, Loíza, Puerto Rico, Murcia (Spain), Clann Giolla Phádraig, engineers, paralegals, Archdiocese of Melbourne; invoked against snakes, sins
Día de San Patricio Buenos Aires 2
Saint Patrick's Day in Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Life

Saint Patrick (about 402 - March 17, 491) is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in a village in Roman Britain. Saint Patrick came from a Christian family. He was the son of Calpurnius, who was a deacon in the church. According to the autobiographical Confession of Patrick, when he was about sixteen years old, he was captured by Irish pirates. They took him from his home in Britain and sold him as a slave in Ireland. He lived there for six years and learned the local language. He explains that the Lord had mercy and gave him the opportunity to be forgiven his sins and convert to Christianity. While in captivity, Patrick worked as a shepherd and strengthened his relationship with God through prayer.

After six years of captivity, Patrick heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home and that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he traveled to a port two hundred miles away, where he found a ship and convinced the captain to take him. After the ship sailed for three days, they landed in what they thought was Britain and everyone left the ship. They walked for 28 days in a "wilderness" and became faint from hunger. After Patrick prayed for food, they saw a herd of wild boar. Since this was shortly after Patrick had urged his companions to put their faith in God, his reputation in the group was greatly increased. After various adventures, he returned home to his family when he was in his early twenties.

After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland as a missionary. Because he knew the language, he could preach to the people. He also married couples when the king did not allow it. He brought Christianity to Ireland and converted many pagans to Christianity. He also challenged many of their leaders and druids such as Aodhan the Brave, also known as Chief Aodhan. St.Patrick eventually led Chief Aodhan to Christ and they worked together to convert many other pagans.

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated every year on March 17 in his honor.

Saint Patrick's Bell

The Bell of Saint Patrick Shrine MET tem07651s1
The Shrine of St. Patrick's Bell

There is a bell in the National Museum of Ireland that was made around the time of Saint Patrick's life. There is no evidence that Saint Patrick owned the bell, but the Irish have believed for 1400 years that the bell belonged to Saint Patrick. One of the kings of Ulster, who was the high king of Ireland at the time, had a beautiful cover made out of gold and gems to preserve the bell. The names of the bishops of Ireland were engraved on the cover. The style of the letters on the cover were used to make the first typewriters. It is believed that the bell was rung by Saint Patrick to let people know it was time for church.

Saint Patrick and the Snakes

Kilbennan St. Benin's Church Window St. Patrick Detail 2010 09 16
Patrick depicted with shamrock in detail of stained glass window in St. Benin's Church, Kilbennan, County Galway, Ireland

There are no snakes in Ireland but there is a legend that at the time of Saint Patrick there were lots of snakes and he chased them all into the Irish Sea. Some say that this legend came to be because pagans had tattoos of snakes and Saint Patrick got rid of the pagan religions by teaching Christianity and therefore drove out the snakes from Ireland.

Holy Trinity and the Shamrock

St. Patrick is credited with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. He used a three-leafed shamrock as an illustration of the "three-in-one" God. For this reason, shamrocks are a central symbol for St. Patrick’s Day.

Interesting Facts About Saint Patrick

  • Saint Patrick's name at birth was Maewyn Succat.
  • Patrick was born in Britain.
  • He trained and studied for years before returning to Ireland as a missionary.
  • Patrick means "nobleman."
  • Patrick introduced the Celtic cross, which included the sun. This helped the Irish adopt it as a national symbol of Ireland.
  • Saint Patrick's Day did not become a major celebration until the 1970s.

Images for kids

kids search engine
Saint Patrick Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.