St. Patrick, patron saint of Nigeria (who wasn’t Irish and wasn’t the first Christian missionary to Ireland and didn’t drive the snakes out), pray for us.
Popular devotion to St. Patrick might have one believing that he was an Irish pied piper who led the snakes out of the land of Guinness. But there’s a lot about the real saint you may not know.
1. St. Patrick wasn’t Irish; he was likely born in Kilpatrick, Scotland sometime around the year 387.
2. At the age of 16, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates (I know, right?!) and taken to the island, where he spent 6 years in forced labor as a shepherd. He learned to rely on God through the difficult days on the cold and rainy island, exposed to the elements while shepherding.
3. St. Patrick most likely never drove any (real) snakes out of Ireland, because the country never had them in the first place. There is no fossil evidence of the animals in the country, and the cold waters surrounding the island make it too uninhabitable for the reptiles to have migrated there in the first place. The legend likely stems from the snakes in icons of St. Patrick, which symbolized the evil and pagan ways he drove out of the country.
Read more at Catholic News Agency.