Patron Saints: Lists of Catholic Patron Saints, Who They Are and Why They Matter

Stain glassed illustrations of female patron saints of Europe: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Catherine of Siena

Patron Saints: Table of Contents:

Saints hold a special place in the body of the Catholic Church and are especially prominent in its prayer life.

The USCCB describes saints as people in heaven “who lived heroically virtuous lives, offered their life for others, or were martyred for the faith, and who are worthy of imitation.”

Reflecting on the connection between prayer and the communion of saints, Pope Francis said, “When we pray, we never do so alone: even if we do not think about it, we are immersed in a majestic river of invocations that precedes us and proceeds after us.”

Sometimes, people, churches, and organizations share a special connection to a saint. This refers to the concept of patronage, and a certain saint being known as “the patron saint of” a particular group.

What Are Patron Saints?

Patron saints are members of the communion of saints who certain groups look to for special intercession. 

History and tradition often dictate patron saints, but individuals and groups also can choose a patron saint.

This commonly occurs during Confirmation, when those being confirmed (the “confirmandi”) choose a saint’s name as part of the process for this important sacrament.

Organizations often choose saints that align with their mission or those they feel a special connection to. 

For example, Catholic University’s Institute for Transformation of Catholic Education (ITCE) chose patron saints connected to education. 

It explains that it seeks “patronage and prayers of the great educator saints who have gone before us. ITCE looks in a special way to six patron saints who exemplify our guiding principles”:

Hallow’s patron saint is St. Teresa of Avila.

Patron Saints of Countries

The early 20th-century work “The Catholic Encyclopedia”  explains that the term “patron” may be applied to a church, a district, a country, or a corporation.

While church patrons are usually self-evident in their name, countries also have patron saints (sometimes more than one!) that might be less widely known–perhaps because they can shift over time.

Here are popular patron saints associated with different countries around the world:

Smaller regions can have specific patron saints as well. St. Junipero Serra is the patron saint of the state of California. At the same time, St. Vibiana is considered the patron saint of Los Angeles and St. Francis of Assisi the patron saint of San Francisco.

List of Patron Saints and their Causes/Devotions

Groups of people united in specific causes also identify with patron saints, though they are usually not officially recognized by the Church in the same way that the Church recognizes the patronage of a country or church building.

Still, these saints are important to these groups and often play a crucial role in the faith life of their members.

There can be patrons for even more specific causes and devotions. For example, while St. Raphael is considered the patron saint of healing, one might ask for the intercession of St. Bernardine of Siena, patron saint of respiratory illnesses, if dealing with a condition specific to the lungs.

Similarly, while St. Thomas Aquinas is the patron saint of students, someone struggling to promptly complete homework assignments might look to St. Expeditus, patron saint of procrastinators.

Catholics never pray to saints. Rather, saints are venerated and Catholics ask for their intercession. Catholics ask saints to pray to God. Their example of boldly living their faith can inspire us and lead us closer to God.

All Saints Day recognizes all the holy men and women saints in heaven.

Hallow and the Saints

The Hallow app has an entire Daily Saint section dedicated to sharing the story of one saint each day, to inspire your own prayer life and journey toward holiness.

Our Saints in 7 Days Series dives deeper into the lives of prominent saints, exploring their journey to sainthood how it’s relevant to our own lives.

Learn about saints by downloading the Hallow app today.

Frequently Asked Questions about Patron Saints

Who are the patron saints?

There are many! Many saints are patrons of different places or groups. St. Mary and St. Joseph are among the most popular patron saints.

How many patron saints are there?

Adding up patron saints of continents, countries, states and cities, the list would easily approach one thousand different patron saints. Throw in patron saints of organizations and causes, and there are even more.

What is the list of all patron saints?

Because many patron saints of different causes are not official titles, there’s no official, comprehensive list of all saints and their patronages. 

How are patron saints chosen?

Patron saints are “assigned by a venerable tradition, or chosen by election as a special intercessor with God.”

More Saints Resources

How to Pray with Saints

Padre Pio: Miracles and Feast Day

Saints and Mental Health

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