How Patron Saints Protect and Guide
Patron saints are tutelaries or protectors of persons, places, nations or cultures. In most instances, patron saints are designated as protectors or patrons of specific jobs or occupations. They can also be protectors over illness, geographic locations or hobbies.
For instance, because he was devoted to outdoor activities and appreciated nature, Francis of Assisi is designated as the Patron Saint of Ecologists. The Patron Saint Francis de Sales liked to write. Therefore, he is the Patron Saint of writers or of people who work as journalists.
Include a Spiritual Keepsake in Your Walk with God
This small book gives a basic overview of the jobs, locales, hobbies and illnesses that are protected by these tutelary guardians. Wearing the medal of a patron saint that is connected with your job, hobby or interest enforces the spiritual benefits you will receive by donning such a special spiritual keepsake.
Revising the Universal Calendar
Prior to canonization of Saints in the 1400s, saints were proclaimed in accordance to their popularity. This process was, needless to say, quicker than canonization. However, many of the named saints were designated as the result of pagan myths, legends or even by way of other beliefs. Even Buddha was made a Catholic saint! As a result, the Catholic Church reviewed the Universal Calendar in 1969 and revised it so only those individuals whose sainthood was based on historic evidence remained.
Saint Christopher – A Legendary Saint
Saint Christopher was one of the saints whose history was determined to be based on legend. While the saint is still highly popular and medals are crafted in his honor, he is no longer added to the universal liturgical calendar of the Church. The Saint is only included in calendars for specific dioceses or localities. Pope Paul VI approved the new calendar in order to encourage parishioners to express, in a more devout way, their love, hope and faith in Christ.
Saint Christopher – The Patron Saint of Travelers, Athletes and Mariners and Protector over Various Places in the World
The Story of St. Christopher
According to legend, Christopher, who is one of the most popular of Patron Saints, was originally called Reprobus. The Canaanite stood 7 ½ feet tall and was a fearsome-looking man. While serving the Canaanite king, he decided to leave his position to serve another ruler - one whose reputation was unparalleled among other monarchs in the land.
Choosing Whom to Serve
However, while in service to the ruler, he saw the king cross himself at the mention of the devil. The monarch said he feared the devil so Christopher decided to take leave from his post and look for the devil himself. Christopher came upon a band of pirates, one of whom claimed to be the devil who Christopher sought. Christopher served him until he found out that his new master feared Jesus Christ.
A Revelation Causes a Chain of Events
The above revelation spurred Christopher to want to learn more about Christ and where he could find him. During his queries, he met a hermit who directed him and told him about Christianity. Upon this spiritual indoctrination, Christopher wanted to know further about how he could best serve Christ.
Service to Christ
Although the hermit recommended that Christopher fast and pray, Christopher asked if the hermit could suggest an alternative. He responded by saying that Christopher could serve by ensuring the safety of people crossing a perilous stream.
A Heavy Burden is Lifted
At one point in his service, Christopher carried a child across the stream who was so heavy that Christopher barely made it to the other side. When Christopher told the child that his weight was almost unmanageable, the child told the future saint that he was actually Christ, then disappeared from view.
Afterward, Christopher served Christ by visiting the ancient city of Lycia where he converted many people to Christianity. Because of his devotion and beliefs, Christopher was sentenced to death and beheaded under a ruling by the Lycian King.
Who the Saint Protects
St. Christopher’s legend and his popularity actually have caused him to be a strong protector of not only athletes and travelers but a proven guardian against such conditions or events as epilepsy, floods, lightning and pestilence. St. Christopher also guards people who are bachelors, sailors, bookbinders, fruit vendors, gardeners, motorists, surfers, transportation workers and mountaineers.
The Places Protected by Saint Christopher
In addition to providing protection over a variety of interests and occupations, Christopher is also a designated patron over various places in the world. Locations include:
- Roermond, The Netherlands
- Saint Kitts or St. Christopher’s Island in the West Indies
- Baden, Germany
- Brunswick Germany
- Mecklenburg, German
- Barga Italy
- Mondim de Basto, Portugal
- Paete, Laguna, Philippines
- Havana, Cuba
- Toses – Catalonia, Spain
- Agrinion, Greece
- Riga, Latvia
- Vilnius, Lithuania
Depictions of the Saint – Noted Symbols of Protection
Because St. Christopher offers a protective presence for travelers against sudden death, his statue or image is often placed inside or outside churches so it is readily spotted at the onset. In art, St. Christopher is frequently seen as a giant man who is carrying a staff and a child.
Setting a Record in the World of Art
In fact, his image is seen more often on paintings in England than any of the other saints with the exception of the Virgin Mary.
St. Matthew: The Patron Saint of Accountants
Matthew was a Jew who worked as a tax collector for the Romans. Hated by his fellow Jews, Matthew was considered a traitor as well as a “sinner” by the Pharisees (refer to Matthew 9:11-13). However, the Jewish people were quite shocked to learn that Jesus called Matthew an intimate follower. The Pharisees, in particular, could not understand Jesus’ interaction with someone who they considered so immoral.
However, Jesus replied by saying in Matthew 9:12-13: "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners . . . .” Jesus always showed that loving others was a priority in life.
And Matthew, in turn, responded to the call by proclaiming Jesus’ message and following Him. Wearing a medal of the Patron Saint Matthew is not only a way to gain protection and assurance as an accountant, tax collector, banker or bookkeeper, it also serves as a reminder of Jesus’ love for all of humankind.
St Joseph of Cupertino: The Patron Saints of Pilots and Astronauts
The Patron Saint Joseph of Cupertino is well-known for levitating while praying. As a child, Joseph showed a strong inclination toward prayer and devotion and later went on to study for the priesthood. In 1628, he was ordained as a priest.
The priest’s ability to levitate while praying proved to be a burden for him at certain times as people looked on the ability as strange. The priest was even investigated for his gift although later exonerated. St. Joseph was canonized in 1767 after 70 levitational events were recorded. Needless to say, it is easy to see why St. Joseph of Cupertino is the tutelary protector of air travelers, pilots and astronauts.
Saint Thomas – The Patron Saint of Architects
St. Thomas, who was one of Christ’s twelve apostles, is best known for his questioning of the resurrection of Jesus, the account of which is given in the book of St. John. The phrase, “Doubting Thomas,” refers to this Saint. However, Thomas did confess his faith later when he proclaimed, “My Lord and My God,” upon seeing the wounded body of Christ.
St. Thomas ventured past the Roman Empire to convert people to Christianity. Some of the people he baptized became part of a group known today as Nasranis or St. Thomas Christians. The Saint is also designated as the Patron Saint that watches over India. St. Thomas Christians in the country often name their children for St. Thomas as well.
Saint Gabriel, the Archangel – The Patron Saint of Philatelists and Communications Workers
It is not surprising that Gabriel the Arch Angel is the Patron Saint of communications workers as he provided the news of both Jesus and John the Baptist’s births. He also announced a series of prophesies in the book of Daniel. The arch angel appeared to Zechariah announcing the birth of St. John and told Mary that she would give birth to a Son who would become the Savior of the world.
St. Patrick – The Patron Saint of Engineers
While the Patron Saint Patrick guards over Ireland and Nigeria, he is also the Patron Guardian of people in the engineering trade. Although the legendary saint has a variety of stories connected with this life, it was his courage and humility that won the people in Ireland over to Christ.
Details of St. Patrick’s life are sketchy. However, it is known that he was a bishop whose main desire was to witness for Christ. His mission work proved useful in planting seeds of conversion in a Pagan land.
St. Joan of Arc – Patroness of Soldiers
Born on January 6, 1412, the future saint was born in France to peasant class parents in the village of Domremy, close to the province of Lorraine. As a child, Joan heard the voices of St. Margaret, St. Michael and St. Catherine. In May of 1428, Joan’s voices directed her to appear before France’s King to assist him in reconquering his kingdom.
At the time, the King of England and Duke of Burgundy were after French territory. In response, 17-year-old Joan was provided with a small army, all which led to a series of military successes. Because of her efforts, the King entered Rheims and was crowned.
However, in 1430, the Burgundians captured Joan of Arc and sold her to the English. She was condemned to death as a sorceress and heretic and subsequently burned at the stake when she was 19. The military leader was canonized in 1920. Her feast day falls on May 30 on the Church calendar.
Joan not only is the designated protector of soldiers, she is also the patroness over France.
Saint Peregrine Laziosi – Patron Saint of AIDS and Cancer Patients
Born in Forli in Italy, Saint Peregrine was a member of an anti-papal political party when he was young. However, St. Philip Benizi, who oversaw a Servite order, greatly influenced Peregrine to feel otherwise. Perengrine even hit Benizi while he was being heckled by members of Peregrine’s group. However, striking the priest also struck a blow at Peregrine’s heretic belief system. In turn, Peregrine channeled his thoughts and energies in a new direction. Miraculously, the rebel rouser became a member of the Servites and eventually became a priest. Peregrine returned to Forli where he established a Service house and worked with the poor and sick.
One of the self-imposed penances Peregrine followed was to stand in places where he could sit. In turn, he developed a foot cancer that became so bad that the local surgeon recommended amputation of the leg.
Peregrine prayed the night before the scheduled surgery to ask for God’s healing. At one point he fell asleep and saw Jesus in a dream leaving the cross to touch the priest’s diseased foot and leg. Happily, when Peregrine woke up, his cancer was gone. He survived, after the miracle, for 20 years and was ultimately canonized in 1726.
St. Cecilia – Patron Saint of Musicians
According to legendary accounts, Cecilia was a martyr who was betrothed to Valerian, a highly-ranked Roman citizen. Cecilia converted Valerian to Christianity who was later martyred with his brother. Cecilia, who was attacked three times with a sword, survived three days before succumbing to the attack. She requested that the Pope turn her home into a church right before her death.
During the Renaissance and afterwards, the Saint was shown in paintings with an organ or a viola. That is because Cecilia is the designated guardian of anyone involved in the music trade.
Cecilia, herself, has become an icon for the music in the liturgy – considered to be more valuable to the Church than other kinds of art. Words of the Vatican II support this belief in the Constitution on the Liturgy (112-118).
According to Vatican II, “Liturgical action is given a nobler form when sacred words are solemnized in song. . . .” The Vatican II goes on to say that singing or chanting should be supported by the clergy and [be emphasized by the] “. . . active participation of the people. . . .”
Saint John Bosco – Patron Saint of Youth and Editors
Saint John Bosco rejected the idea of corporal punishment. Instead, he placed young people under his guidance and care in environments that prevented them from committing sin. Advocating receipt of the holy sacraments, he combined academic training and recreational activities with spiritual devotions.
When John Bosco was young he was encouraged to become a priest and went on to meet his calling in 1841. His service to youth began when he met an indigent orphan and guided him in preparing for the reception of Holy Communion. Bosco taught young apprentices in catechism too.
St. John Bosco also oversaw the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales, which provided workshops in tailoring and shoemaking for boys. The institution, which grew to a population of 150 in 1856, featured a printing press that was used to publish cathetical and religious materials. St. John’s interest in vocational teaching as well as publishing justified his designation as Patron of publishers/editors and youth.
Thanks to Pope Pius IX’s support, St. John Bosco assembled 17 men and established the Salesians organization in 1859. Work by the organization focused on mission activities and education. The Salesian Sisters were later founded with the same purpose in mind.
Saint John Bosco’s commitment to education encouraged elevating both the mind and soul. He showed, by his actions, that the love of Christ should be present in everything we do.
St. Ignatius of Loyola – Patron Saint of Retreats
A founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius of Loyola was once a military man until his leg was shattered by a cannon ball. During his convalescence, he spent his time reading about Christ and the saints.
A vision of the Mother of God caused Ignatius to travel to her shrine in Montserrat. He stayed in nearby Manresa, praying and fasting while in spiritual contemplation. During this period, Ignatius penned the well-known work known as Spiritual Exercises .
When Ignatius was 43, he committed himself to living a life of poverty and chastity to travel to the Holy Land. If he could not follow this course, he vowed to offer himself to the Pope’s apostolic service. Ignatius made the only decision left to him – serve apostolically. Four years afterwards, the Society of Jesus was sanctioned by Pope Paul II and Ignatius was chosen to serve as the organization’s first general.
Ignatius’ spirituality is conveyed in the motto of the Jesuits: ad majorem Dei gloriam - “for the greater glory of God.” Ignatius advised penitents say the following prayer
“ Receive, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your divine will, that you dispose of me. Give me only your love and your grace. With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.”
Medals Remind Us of the Importance of the Saints’ Works
While the above listing of Saints is far from being comprehensive, it does provide you with information that shows how one’s spirituality deeply influences and guides others through life. Christians wear saint medals to remind them of the significance of communing with God, of looking past one's self and seeking the fulfilment that comes from service to Jesus Christ.
Some of the medallions and necklaces offered here at Saints and More...
Praising God’s Word
While the Church does not support the wearing devotional jewelry for mere adornment, it is good to know that we can praise God’s word by donning a beautiful pendant that commemorates a saint.
A Reminder that Brings Us Closer to God
We don’t pray to saints, we pray with them to receive protection and build a closer relationship with God. That’s why saint medals are special. Just like a picture that you carry of a loved one, a medal is God’s way of keeping you close to Him and His word – reminding you of the works of a saint who impacts your life and interests now.
Maintaining our Devotion
Because we ask the saints to pray with us and for us, our prayer life becomes more enriched. Therefore, when selecting a saint medal, it is also a good idea to choose a rosary in the form of a bracelet or necklace. Both types of “adornments” are ways to maintain our devotion and commitment to leading a Christian life.
The Prayer Life: Making if More Meaningful
Some people believe that the saints cannot hear prayer. However, Scripture demonstrates that people who have gone to heaven are aware of the supplications made on the earth. In Revelation 5:8, John talks about prayer and the saints, saying that prayer is offered in the form of “. . . golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” In turn, the saints offer our prayers to God by acting as mediators. Their intercessions make praying a more meaningful experience.
Obtaining God’s Truth
Paul supports the intercession of the saints by saying in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 “. . . "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good and pleasing to God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. . . .”
An Inspired Piece of Jewelry
Wearing a rosary or saint medal then supports your prayer life and provides you with the protection and guidance needed to give you peace of mind. The saints offer from heaven, as they have done on earth, the inspiration we need to develop a closer relationship with Christ.
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