It has been said that everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day.
(Personally, I'm ¼ Irish all year 'round)
Just about everyone has heard of St. Patrick, but how many know all that much about him? Obviously, he's the patron saint of Ireland, and one doesn't have to be Irish to be aware of that. Interestingly enough he has actually never been officially canonized, however, various Christian churches declare that he is indeed a Saint.
Many stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick are false, passed along during hundreds of years of storytelling.
Some things we do know to be true about him though, based upon a couple of letters that he wrote.
St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents in the 4th century. When he was around 16 years old, he was captured in Britain by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. According to his own writing, a voice (one which he believed to be that of God) spoke to him in a dream and told him that it was time to leave Ireland. After returning to Britain, he said that he'd experienced a second dream, in which an angel told him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Consequently, Patrick began religious training soon afterward. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland to minister to Christians already living there...and to begin to convert the Irish.
He is believed to have died on March 17, 460...hence the reason for that being date on which we celebrate St. Patrick's Day, although there is also evidence that he may in fact have died in 493.
By the 8th century he was revered as Ireland's patron saint...