Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Patrick (c. 389–461)

Saint Patrick (c. 389–461)

Patron saint of engineers and Ireland

Feast day: March 17

Saint Patrick is one of the world’s most popular saints. Saint Patrick was born in Roman Britain around the year 389. At age 16 he was captured by Irish pirates and kept as a slave for six years. While herding sheep he had plenty of time to think, pray, and learn to trust in God. Eventually, he escaped, found his family again, and studied for the priesthood.

He returned to Ireland as a missionary after having a recurring dream in which the children of Ireland cried out to him, “Come and walk among us once more.” Patrick saw Jesus present everywhere and looked to nature to explain Christian beliefs about God.

According to popular legend, Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and it has been associated with him and the Irish since that time. “The Breastplate” is a prayer attributed to Patrick. In it, he invites Christ to be part of every aspect of his life. (From The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Third Edition [Saint Mary’s Press])

(Image © Vicki Shuck/Saint Mary's Press)