I was raised Catholic, but converted to Protestantism when I was 17. For the past 27 years, I have been a Regular Baptist. I’m about 1/2 millimeter from turning back to the Catholic Church.
I have been working on trying to overcome some obstacles, one of which is patron saints. I can understand that those who have died can interceed for those of us who remain. However, I don’t understand the purpose of having a patron saint for this, or for that.
I’m not trying to be beligerent. I really want to understand. But right now, it just feels like this evolved from having gods of this and that.
It’s just calling on someone with experience in that area. When the saint was on Earth, he or she did something that would connect them to what they are now the patron of.
For example, I am planning on being a baker, so I took the patron saint of bakers as my patron when I was Confirmed. He is the patron because of baking because he WAS a baker. St. Christopher is the patron saint of travellers because when he was alive his job was to help travellers safely get to the other side of a river. St. Thomas Aquinas was a huge scholar, a very, very intelligent man so he’s the patron saint of students. If you’re going to ask advice on building your house you wouldn’t ask the man who works at the toy store - consult an expert, a carpenter! It’s the same with Patron saints.
It’s also an organizational thing too, IMO. It helps to narrow down the list when you’re thinking of who to ask for intercession. If we just had saints then we’d have to run through a whole list of them and pick on at random too ask for intercessory prayers when we needed them.
To us, yeah, Magnus Fussen might be sort of a weird one.
To a farmer living in feudel France back in the middle ages and depending on his crop to survive in order to feed his family? Not so silly. He’s the patron for protecting crops too, that’s what the ‘against catapillers’ means. (Although my sister, who is afraid of insects, particularly flying ones and majorly butterflies, might also find him a good friend )
Some of the stranger ones might have a more logical purpose if we look back farther. Remember that The Church is very old, and has been through time periods nothing like ours, where what was dangerous and important is vastly different then now, so some patrons were chosen for things that were important then, and we are sort of confused about them now.
Well, I had never heard of that particular saint, but you’ve got to remember that the Church is 2000 years old. It’s members have lived in times when nature was harsh–perhaps insect infestations were a problem for some of them? I looked up St. Magnus and found he is a patron saint for protection of crops- against caterpillers, hail, lightning, and snakes. This doesn’t seem odd at all, considering he lived in the seventh century. You might not find the need for a patron who prays for the protection of your crops if you are not a farmer. There are, indeed, many people, particularly in third world countries, who could still benefit from the protection of St. Magnus.
When my wife and I converted this year, we (as every candidate and catechumen) chose a patron saint. It was an interesting exercise since it necessarily involved lots of research. For me, that meant reading Butler’s Lives of the Saints.
I chose St Augustine of Hippo because I really identified with him. The “Confessions” had always resonated with me and I’ve always found his life to be inspiring.
St Vincent of Saragossa was in contention as well, because he evinced great courage and indomitable will in his martyrdom.
Patron saints are Christians whose lives serve as examples of how our own ought to be lived.
My wife chose St Catherine of Siena, renowned as the nun who ordered the Pope back to Rome from Avignon. She obviously admired her boldness and righteousness.
We do not worship either. We try to emulate both, insofar as we can. As an added benefit, our patron saints have brought us closer to the Church, as we have had to research her history and teachings simply to select from among the multitude of saints.
I came home from the church today and we talked a bit about Patron Saints. My mom told me something that it makes sense to me - so I thought I would share. Patron Saints intercede for us for specific reasons, and when our answer gets granted, we come to learn more about this specific saint. We begin to learn not only the saint intercede for us some specific need, we also learn more about their lives and we eventually want to grow spiritually like them.
For example: when I didn’t have a job, my girlfriend prayed for the intercession of St. Jude and St. Rita. I later got a job! Later on, I learn that St. Rita is a peace maker, I started to learn about her life and want to ask her to help me become like her - not just having a job. When praying to become a peace maker, I’ve learned to be suffered, like her, as well.(I am not saying I am like her though, but I am saying I know more about her and want to be like her)
So, God uses all the Saints to draw us closer to Him.
these devotions usually arose out of popular piety or from the stories of the lives of the saints themselves, and were probably repeated as aids to teaching about the saints, their virtues, and why they are worthy models to imitate. Later on, when the process of canonization became more formalized, popes would sometimes name a saint as patron of a certain group, again based on some factor in that saints life.
St. Nicholas is the patron of children because of the legend of his bringing the 3 murdered boys back to life. St. Clare of Assisi is patron of television, obviously named by a modern pope, because when she was dying and to ill to get to the church, she had a vision of the entire Mass being celebrated in her cell. some of the links probably made perfect sense to early teachers who used tales of saints to instruct the faithful in their virtues, but seem a bit lost to us moderns, or a bit bizarre.
Some of the early martyrs are patrons because of the way in which they were martyred ie. St. Lawrence on the gridiron, I believe it was St. Barbara who was burned and is patron of cooks.
guilds in the middle ages adopted their own patron saints for their professions, and it seems at times they regarded the devotion to the patron in the same light as following favorite football teams. this illustrates how veneration of patrons comes under popular piety, which should always be respected unless and until it conflicts with actual Catholic teaching and disciplines.
We know there is a who legion of faithful who have died through martyrdom or after a heroic life of virtue who are indeed in heaven and can intercede for us, and are part of the Mystical Body of Christ–the Church Triumphant-- and who remind us of our own hope of heaven. Adopting patron saints, as we do personally when we choose our baptismal or confirmation names, or for a country, profession, or avocation, is a means of affirming this belief in the communion of saints.
for more on saints look at the CA homepage, and a good website for this is americancatholic.com, click on saints, you can find the saint of the day, saints by name, or lists of patron saints
Certain Catholic saints are associated with certain life situations
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint.