Saints Watch Over You

The practice began with the building of churches over the burial places of martyrs—Saint Peter’s Basilica being the most famous example.

It has grown to be so commonplace that we often neglect to realize the significance of the name: San Francisco, Santa Maria and Saint Louis, for instance, are all named for those deemed to be saints.

In the Catholic faith, believers on earth are part of the same spiritual body as those who have passed on. Moreover, each is able to provide solace to the other through prayer.

Naming Peter as the Patron Saint of the basilica bearing his name, then, is to declare his special concern for the site and the people who gather there. One who visits Saint Peter’s may feel led to ask the Saint for a special favor, or to act as an intercessor and champion the believer’s concern before the Heavenly throne.

Over the years, the practice grew. Not only churches, but entire towns, claimed a Patron Saint. Then particular trades or crafts determined who in Heaven most looked over them. And finally, individual cares, cases, concerns and families were deemed under the protection of a particular Saint.

For instance, consider the following Saints and their guardianships:

  • Matthew for accountants
  • Agnes of Rome for Girl Scouts
  • Martha for waiters and waitresses
  • John Bosco for Mexican youth
  • Bridget for Sweden
  • Teresa of Avila for headaches
  • Matt Talbot for alcoholics

Have you lost something? Turn to Saint Anthony of Padua for guidance in locating the item. Does your throat hurt? Saint Ignatius of Antioch can help. And if you are blind or are an orphan in Quito, Ecuador—turn to Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia).

The entire subject is fascinating. Many people wear special medallions or carry other items related to their patron saint—the Saint Christopher medal is one of the most popular. Other saints you probably have heard of are Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Patrick (have you ever worn green on his day?) and Saint Valentine.

Do you have a favorite patron saint? Take some time to browse through a list of saints and concerns. The Star Quest Production Network, a multimedia provider for all things Catholic, offers a substantial list of saints and information about them on their site.

Remember: wherever you are, whatever you do, and however perplexing the ailment…there is a Saint for you.

Lane Goodberry writes on business topics ranging from corporate giving to entrepreneurship.

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