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Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, wasn’t actually Irish

<i>Bettmann/Getty Images</i><br/>St. Patrick
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St. Patrick

By Leah Asmelash, CNN

St. Patrick’s Day may be strongly associated with Irish pride, but the eponymous saint actually wasn’t even from Ireland.

St. Patrick was actually born in Roman Britain, according to Catholic Online. As a boy, he was first brought to the country through Irish pirates, captured to take care of sheep.

At the time, Ireland was almost entirely Druid. A few years later, Saint Patrick escaped from Ireland and made it back home to Britain.

God had other plans for the would-be saint, according to Catholic Online. Saint Patrick had a vision, one that led him to study priesthood. Despite his previous escape, Saint Patrick went back to Ireland willingly to help spread Catholicism. He converted thousands of Irish people to Catholicism, becoming known as the patron saint of Ireland. He even used shamrocks, now commonly associated with the holiday, as a tool in his ministry to explain the Holy Trinity.

Now, St. Patrick’s Day is held on what is believed to be the day the Saint died, on March 17. Though in the US the holiday is mainly thought of as a celebration of Irish culture, some cathedrals in Ireland celebrate the day as a religious holiday, holding special services in honor of the saint.

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