Useful Notes: Patron Saints
saints who have been invoked as patrons in fiction.
Many such saints have many legends accrete about a bare kernel of fact, such as a name listed as a martyr. Real legends that help explain their patronage may also be included below. An important theological underpinning is that these saints are intercessors
. Having died and been canonized, the Church tradition says that each of these saints is in heaven with God. Then, in their state of grace, these saints pray to God on behalf of the faithful who pray to them. Think of them as heavenly advocates who have some "insider perks" with the Almighty. Worshiping a saint is right out — also known as "putting other gods before God," which you might notice is not looked upon kindly. Anyway, saints aren't
gods — they're just ordinary people who were extraordinarily holy.
Note that Catholic Saints avert One Steve Limit
hard — Saints are frequently given an extra title, such as their home town, to help distinguish them.
- The Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, Queen of All Saints. Mary bore and raised Jesus, assisted in His ministry, witnessed His Resurrection, and was (according to Catholic tradition) assumed bodily into heaven. That'd be miraculous enough for anyone, but Mary wasn't content with that. She's had an astonishingly active Biblical career, according to pious legend. She is, among other things, patroness of the United States (the US being hostile to Catholics until one became President, the American Church must have figured that they needed the biggest guns they could find), and of France (that's why the most prominent church in all of France — and many more besides — are called Notre Dame, "Our Lady"). She is also the patroness of Mexico. Known by a myriad of titles — you can find an "Our Lady of" just about anything. Beloved and revered in many ways all around the world.
- Saint Agnes, patron saint of girls, chastity, and rape victims. She lived in Imperial Rome, and when she refused to worship the Roman gods she was publicly stripped, dragged to a brothel, and her persecutors attempted to rape her, but they were struck blind.
- Saint Anthony (of Padua — there are others), known as the Saint of Miracles; patron saint of Portugal, the postal service, elderly people and the oppressed, among many other things. Best known as the finder of lost things due to his prodigious memory.
- Saint Barbara, patron saint of those in dangerous occupations (including Russian rocketeers).
- She is the patron saint of all occupations where imminent and violent death is ubiquitous, including miners, artillerymen, military engineers and steelworkers.
- Saint Bernadette, patron saint of the sick and poverty-stricken.
- Saint Catherine (of Siena — there are others), a great mystic and theological writer who is now one of the Doctors of the Church; she mortified herself greatly for her faith, and is most famous for having a vision of a holy marriage to the infant Jesus. Patron saint of those ridiculed for their piety, of protection in childbirth, of nurses, and against fire.
- Saint Cecelia, patroness of musicians.
- Saint Christopher, who carried Christ across a river, patron saint of travellers, and a medal of whom is usually featured in a car, is often the butt of car-related jokes.
- Saint Dismas, the traditional name of the thief crucified to Jesus's right. Patron of thieves
- Saint Dymphna. Historically, there is evidence of a martyr of this name. She picked up a legend of having repulsed her father's attempts to rape and murder her — like the Fairy Tale "All Kinds of Fur" Donkeyskin, and their variants — and is the patroness of the insane and emotionally disturbed.
- Saint Francis of Assisi, a popular and recognizable saint. He cast aside his worldly riches to live in severe poverty, and was known to have a gift with animals, even preaching to birds and calming wolves. He was a humble lover of nature, and the first recorded Christian to receive the stigmata. He is the patron saint of animals and the environment (and those who care for the same, like veterinarians and conservationists), merchants, and the Cub Scouts, as well as the city of San Francisco, CA.
- Interesting current events trivia, Bishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, when he was called to the Church's highest office, took the name Francis in emulation of the Saint, becoming Papa Francisco — and the first Pope to take that name. So far, he has won acclaim for his humility in dress and his emphasis on service and good works, rather than haggling over doctrine, so he is doing his namesake proud.
- Saint George, the preacher, legionary, and dragon-slayer, patron saint of England, Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria, Catalonia, Georgia, and...screw it, let's just say half of Europe; a ridiculous number of cities; armored units; and the Boy Scouts.
- Saint Jerome, patron saint of translators - with good reason; that he translated the Bible (which, whatever one may think of it or the beliefs described therein, is an extremely complex, long and culturally detailed book) would already be quite a feat even WITH computers and translation memory software and so on; imagine WITHOUT, BY HAND. Considered to be one of the fathers of the Church for that precise reason.
- Saint Joan of Arc, co-patron saint of France (Saint Denis is the original patron) and archetypal Action Girl, the Jeanne d'Archétype.
- Saint Jude, not to be confused with Judas Iscariot; might be the most unfortunate victim of the One Yehuda Limit. One of the twelve Apostles, sometimes called Thaddeus, who is credited with having brought Christianity to Armenia. He has a special designation as patron saint of Lost Causes, in fact, there's even a song dedicated to him. And he's the patron of police officers.
- Saint Mark, the Evangelist, patron of Egypt, Venice, and barristers/litigators.
- Saint Martha (of Bethany). Patron saint of housewives, because Jesus visited her frequently (along with her sister Mary and her brother Lazarus), and when they did, Martha was always the generous hostess while her siblings listened and learned. Also legendarily attributed with having killed a dragon.
- Saint Michael the Archangel, highly regarded for being a Knight In Shining Armour and general of God's army. Patron saint of police officers.
- The Church also recognizes two other Archangels and designates them as saints along with Michael: Gabriel, the messenger angel who informed Mary that she was pregnant with the Messiah, and Raphael, featured in the Book of Tobit note , who is associated with healers and the protection of travelers.
- Saint Nicholas, a.k.a. Santa Claus (a lot of Multilingual Memetic Mutation was involved), who surreptitiously gave gold to the poor, patron saint of children; also patron of (repentant) thieves and of bankers, moneylenders, and financiers (including pawnbrokers—hence the three golden orbs.)
- The most famous legend is that a poor father had three daughters with no dowry, and therefore no marriage prospects, and a likely eventual fate as prostitutes. Nicholas the Bishop helped them under cover of night, by throwing bags of gold down their chimney, one for each daughter, saving their futures.
- Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, said to have driven the snakes out of Ireland. As there are no snakes native to Ireland, this is taken to be symbolic of driving out the pagan influences (that, or he was very, very thorough).
- Saint Peter, portrayed as standing at the Pearly Gates of heaven and acting as God's bouncer, as it were. Famously crucified upside-down (which is why if you wear an upside-down cross to be "Satanic," you are doing it wrongnote ). Patron of the Papacy, as he also has the distinction of being the first Pope.
- He and Saint Paul tag-team as the patron saints of Rome and the Vatican.
- Saint Thomas More, patron saint of politicians, statesmen, and lawyers.
- Saint Veronica, patron saint of photography. During Christ's passion, Veronica wiped his face with a cloth, and the cloth miraculously bore Christ's image.
- The Internet claims as patron saints Gabriel, Charles Borromeo, and (officially) Isidore, who began work on the Etymologiae, a Great Big Book of Everything, in the 7th century CE.
- Should you ever need an intercessor fast while editing This Very Wiki, another saint who can help is Saint Clare of Assisi, the patron saint of television. The legend goes that one day she was lying too ill to attend Mass, but by a miracle was permitted to see and hear the service as if displayed on the wall of her room. She is also prayed to for help with telegraphs, telephones, and to ensure nice weather. And if you're wondering, yes, she knew St. Francis of Assisi, in fact they were close friends and colleagues.
- ...and other saints with unusual patronage. There can be a lot of overlap in patronage, particularly in issues that cause people to pray a lot.
- In a strange but ubiquitous bit of trivia, many martyrs ended up becoming patron saints related to their method of martyrdom. For example, Saint Lucy's eyes were gouged out, but restored miraculously. Now she's the patron saint of eye problems. And so on and so forth. This makes sense — if you have trouble with your health, you want an intercessor with first hand experience — but then this bleeds over into professions. St. Bartholomew, who legend says was skinned alive, is the patron saint of tanners and leatherworkers. Odd... One wonders if some recorder on the way had a rather dark sense of humor.