Who Was Saint Patrick?

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1 The Story of Saint Patrick Each year on March 17 th, millions of people around the world celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. This usually involves wearing green and seeing lots of shamrocks, but who was Saint Patrick and why do we celebrate him? Who Was Saint Patrick? Saint Patrick lived in Ireland over 1,500 years ago, so we don t know a whole lot about his life. It is believed that he was born in about 385 AD into a wealthy family in Britain when it was still part of the mighty Roman Empire. Patrick was raised in a very religious family as both his father and grandfather were priests in the Christian church. When he was sixteen, however, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken back to Ireland as a captive. In a dream he had while it captivity, God told him he could return home by fleeing to the coast. Unfortunately, the coast was about 200 miles away, but Patrick escaped and walked the whole way. He found his way to a ship, which he boarded and returned to Britain. This dream inspired him to become a priest himself. Years later, he rose to the position of bishop and he was given the task of going back to Ireland to convert the Irish to Christianity. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods was to use the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity. He also is said to have created the traditional Celtic cross. The cross has always been a symbol of Christianity, but a Celtic cross involves intricate patterns and designs and usually bright colors. He also supposedly chased all of the snakes out of Ireland after one attacked him. To this day, there are no snakes on the entire island. He stayed in Ireland for nearly 30 years and converted thousands to Christianity before he passed away in 461. Saint Patrick s Day Today, he is the Patron Saint of Ireland. This means that for Christians, Saint Patrick is the advocate for the Irish people in Heaven. As a saint, he has an official feast day which is March 17 th. Since such a large part of Irish culture has been storytelling and myths, the story of Saint Patrick has grown over the years and into becoming a symbol of Irish culture and history. That s why today, St. Patrick s Day has come to be more of a celebration of Irish culture than of the man himself. This means shamrocks, traditional Irish music, lots of green, and of course the Celtic cross.

2 Name The Story of Saint Patrick 1. When Saint Patrick was born, Britain was: a. Part of Ireland b. An independent country c. Part of the Roman Empire d. A powerful empire 2. According to the story, what is not a part of Irish culture? a. Shamrocks b. Snakes c. Celtic crosses d. The color green 3. Which part of Saint Patrick s story is most likely to be a myth? a. He was born into a wealthy family. b. He chased all of the snakes out of Ireland. c. He was taken captive. d. He returned to the Ireland to Christianize its people. 4. What is a Patron Saint? a. The protecting saint of a people or place. b. A saint who buys things for people. c. A saint who has a holiday. d. Any saint from Ireland. 5. What part of Irish culture contributed most to the popularity of St. Patrick s Day today? a. Traditional music b. Art and crosses c. Storytelling and myths d. Shamrocks Activity Saint Patrick used the Celtic cross to help bring native Irish into Christianity. Use one of the templates to create your own Celtic cross in a color and style that you think would appeal to people.

3 Name Answer Key The Story of Saint Patrick 1. When Saint Patrick was born, Britain was: a. Part of Ireland b. An independent country c. Part of the Roman Empire d. A powerful empire 2. According to the story, what is not a part of Irish culture? a. Shamrocks b. Snakes c. Celtic crosses d. The color green 3. Which part of Saint Patrick s story is most likely to be a myth? a. He was born into a wealthy family. b. He chased all of the snakes out of Ireland. c. He was taken captive. d. He returned to the Ireland to Christianize its people. 4. What is a Patron Saint? a. The protecting saint of a people or place. b. A saint who buys things for people. c. A saint who has a holiday. d. Any saint from Ireland. 5. What part of Irish culture contributed most to the popularity of St. Patrick s Day today? a. Traditional music b. Art and crosses c. Storytelling and myths d. Shamrocks Activity Saint Patrick used the Celtic cross to help bring native Irish into Christianity. Use one of the templates to create your own Celtic cross in a color and style that you think would appeal to people.

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