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How to Find and Pray to Your Patron Saints
There's a Saint for Every Purpose Under Heaven
I come from a Catholic household. Catholic of the Irish variety. I qualify this because different ethnicities have special saints they pray to and have festivals to honor. I thought today would be a good day to tackle this subject because a) I just finished a hub on the subject of cats and dogs, b) cats and dogs are animals, c) October 4 is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. In fact, I just saw on the local news people bringing their pets to be blessed -- including one man whose 25-year-old tortoise gets blessed every year.
Obviously, if St. Francis' blessing has kept this tortoise alive 25 years, and the blessing of animals is deemed mainstream enough to make it onto the news (NBC affiliate, even), then praying to saints must work!!!
Direct Your Prayers to the Right Place
Do we pray to or with the saints?
Pray to St. Anthony... or is it Jude?
There are patron saint for countries, professions, married people, single people, dying and childbirth. There are patron saints for diseases and disease prevention. In short, there's a patron saint for just about everything.
My earliest recollection of singling out a specific saint for "intercession" (that's the Catholic word for "help from a saint") was when I was 8. My brother and sister and I and our dog Sam went sledding. Somehow, the dog got loose, we ran to chase him, and in the hubbub lost the sled (or someone took it). As my mother sent us back out to search for the sled, she admonished us to pray to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things.
Here's a quick prayer you can use if ever you misplace something:
Something's lost and can't be found, please St. Anthony, look around. Dear St. Anthony, I pray, bring it back without delay.
We never did find our sled, but as children, I don't think we took the whole St. Anthony intercession thing seriously.
Another commonly prayed to saint is Jude Thaddeus. Jude was one of the Apostles, thus he gets to be the patron saint of lots of things:
Jude's the saint to call on in a really dire situation or medical crisis. St. Jude is the proper way to address him (okay to drop the Thaddeus). But "Hey Jude" will probably not get you too far.
St. Patrick is widely known for bringing Christianity to Ireland, using a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. It's no wonder he become the patron saint of Ireland!But he shares that honor with St. Brigid of Kildare and St. Columba (in case you have need to pray for the Emerald Isle anytime soon, you can take your pick). And for reasons that are not immediately obvious, St. Patrick is also the patron saint of engineers -- and Nigeria.
We all know that St. Valentine is the patron saint of love, young people and happy marriages. He's also (fittingly) the patron saint of greetings. So how exactly did Valentine become associated with these things? One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine."
If you're traveling, St. Christopher is the one for you. St. Christopher protects all manner of transporation related causes, including autombile drivers, truckers, sailors, transportation workers and taxi drivers. That's why it's common to see St. Christopher medallions on dashboards. Note that pilots get their own patron saints, St. Joseph of Cupertino and St. Therese of Lisieux. I'll get to female saints in a minute. Meanwhile, here's a prayer to help you on your way:
Dear Saint, you have inherited a beautiful name - Christbearer - as a result of a wonderful legend that while carrying people across a raging stream you also carried the Child Jesus. Teach us to be true Christbearers to those who do not know him. Protect all drivers who often transports those who bear Christ within them. Amen.
Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Not All Saints are Men
St. Joan of Arc, St. Rose of Lima, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Mary Magdalene -- these are all saints whose names are familiar. Here are some other women saints it might come in handy to know about:
Saint Rita of Cascia, patron saint of parenthood, infertility
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, patron saint of loss of parents
Saint Teresa Avila, patron saint of headaches
Saint Genevieve, patron saint of disasters
Saint Margaret Clitherow, patron saint of businesswomen (businessmen have their own saint, it's Homobonus)
Who's YOUR Patron Saint?
- Roman Catholic Patron Saints Index
Saint of the Day offers daily inspiring saints' stories and presents ways to apply their example. Send free Saints' e-greetings.
Guides to Life and Work
In some cases, the relation of a saint to a cause may not be obvious, but ours is not to question the authority that assigns these things. They know what they're doing. Feel free to explore the full list to discover who might be relevant to your situation.
I will tell you that in creating this hub I have found reason to call upon saints I never knew existed:
St. Frances de Sales, patron saint of authors, journalists and writers
St. Isodore of Seville, patron saint of computers and the internet!
St. Catharine of Bologna, patron saint of art
St. Monica, patron saint of married women and mothers
They've gotten me this far. Now it's up to you. I hope you find this helpful and will look to the saints when your prayers need a little extra focused attention.