There are over 10,000 saints in the Catholic faith. Patron Saints are meant to act as both guardians and sources of comfort for those living today with certain hardships or characteristics. In honor of All Saints Day (November 1), I’ve listed four saints and their contributions. The featured saints are guardians and protectors of those dealing with afflictions beyond their control— such as neglected children, poverty, sickness, and the loss of parents.
Mother Seton is one of the keystones of the American Catholic Church. She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity. According to American Catholic, she opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage. The early deaths of her mother and baby sister gave Elizabeth a feel for eternity and the finite reality of life on earth.
Benedict was born in central Italy, studied at Rome, and early in life was drawn to the monastic life. He had an idea of gathering various families of monks into one “Grand Monastery” to give them the benefit of unity, fraternity, and permanent worship in one house. The Rule that gradually developed prescribed a life of liturgical prayer, study, manual labor and living together in community under a common father or teacher.
Saint Emily – The Patron Saint of Single Women and Neglected Children
Saint Emily founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition. They cared for the needy, especially the sick, and for children. For fifteen years, Emily devoted herself to the care of children neglected by their parents and to the help of the poor. In the course of twenty-two years, Saint Emily watched her congregation grow from one to some forty houses, many of which she had founded in person.
Saint John of God – The Patron Saint of the Sick
Saint John established a house where he tended to the needs of the sick poor, at first doing his own begging. Excited by the saint’s great work and inspired by his devotion, many people began to provide him with money and provisions. Behind John’s outward acts of total concern and love for Christ’s sick and poor was a deep interior prayer life, which was reflected in his spirit of humility.
Saint Rita wanted to become a nun, but was pressured at a young age into marrying. During her 18-year marriage, she bore and raised two sons. After her husband was killed and her sons had died, she was able to become a nun. She was known for her austerity, devotion to prayer and charity. St. Rita is the patron saint of impossible and desperate situations, healing wounds, lonely people, and parenthood.
For a more detailed description of each saint please visit St. Patrick’s Guild. The site carries gifts and tokens related to over 100 saints.
Do you have any more suggestions of Patron Saints for Generation X?