St. Patrick escaped back to Britain when he was 20, was reunited with his family and began to study for the priesthood. On his return to Ireland in 432, he began to convert pagans and build churches. And by the time he died in 457, St. Patrick and his disciples had wrought major changes throughout the island.
Mythology surrounds the historical figure of St. Patrick, and fact is often difficult to separate from fantasy. Some of these tales could be considered examples of early religious spin control.
The apocryphal legend of St. Patrick driving snakes out of Ireland can be seen as an allegorical representation of his work to eliminate paganism from the island. The shamrock became associated with the saint, because he supposedly used it as an earthy symbol of the Holy Trinity, one the tree-loving Druids could relate to.
Whether or not these stories are historically accurate, the current-day influence of St. Patrick is evident everywhere, particularly on March 17.
Written by Curtis Grisham with graphic design by Tim Hyde