The month of March not only marks the beginning of springtime, but it also is well known for its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday held annually on March 17 and named after the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. Many may associate St. Patrick’s Day with shamrocks, leprechauns, parades, corn beef and cabbage, wearing green and celebratory parties, but the actual St. Patrick himself is well worth celebrating.

St. Patrick was a humble and courageous man with determination to win Ireland for Christ. He ordained many priests, created dioceses, conducted church councils, founded multiple monasteries and repeatedly urged his people to follow the teachings of Christ. St. Patrick preached throughout Ireland for more than 40 years. After many years of living in poverty, arduous traveling and suffering, he died on March 17, 461.

There are many books that detail the amazing life story of St. Patrick that appeal to all ages and would be meaningful additions to this holiday season. One of the most well-known quotes from St. Patrick sums up his life: “Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The Story of Saint Patrick
By Christopher Fay

Open the pages of this enchanting book and learn about the man who lives in the hearts of all the Irish. Did you know that St. Patrick was a Roman citizen? Or that he was captured by the Celts and made a slave for six years? This book blends St. Patrick’s actual words from his autobiography with the legends about him so that young readers can learn about the life of this exceptional man. Recommended for ages 3-8.

St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography
By Philip Freeman

St. Patrick has often been regarded as a man principally created from myth and legend, but this book brings the historic St. Patrick and his world to life. Set against the turbulent backdrop of the British Isles during the last years of the Roman Empire, you’ll read the story of the real St. Patrick, shorn of legend, a man whose deep spiritual conviction and devotion helped to transform a country.

Patrick: Saint of Ireland
By Joyce Denham

St. Patrick is one of Ireland’s most beloved saints, known to Irish, Irish Americans and people all over the world. Young readers will appreciate the watercolor illustrations, and young readers will enjoy reading along with the expressive text. From his early days as a slave to his return as a priest, the story of St. Patrick is one for all children. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Saint Patrick Retold
By Roy Flechner

St. Patrick was, by his own admission, a controversial figure. Convicted in a trial in Britain and hounded by rumors that he settled in Ireland for financial gain, the man who was to become Ireland’s patron saint battled against great odds before succeeding as a missionary. This book offers a fresh assessment of Patrick’s efforts and achievements. This is the first biography in nearly 50 years to explore Patrick’s career against the background of historical events in late antique Britain and Ireland.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.