March 17th marks the celebrated feast day of Saint Patrick - the beloved patron saint of Ireland. Born in Scotland in the year 347, Saint Patrick was captured at a young age and brought to Ireland. During his enslavement, he tended to sheep and often prayed, learning about the beliefs and practices of the Irish people who at the time were not Christian.
As he grew older, Saint Patrick eventually escaped from his captivity and returned home, but he never forgot about his time in Ireland and his desire to teach the people there about Christianity. After studying for the priesthood and becoming a bishop, he was sent to Ireland as a missionary by the Pope.
Saint Patrick gained the trust of many community leaders in Ireland and was able to baptize and convert thousands of people to Christianity. He built over three hundred churches throughout Ireland and remained there for forty years, preaching, writing, and ministering to the people.
There are many legends surrounding Saint Patrick, including one where he used the shamrock plant, which grows in Ireland, to explain the Holy Trinity. Just as the plant has three separate leaves, the Holy Trinity consists of three separate persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is why the shamrock is considered the traditional symbol of Ireland.