Some patron saints are well-known - for example, many people bury a statue of St. Joseph in the yard when buying or selling a house. However, others are the patrons of lesser-known causes. From the mundane to the surprising, how much do you know about patron saints?
Legend says that St. Francis was followed by small animals which attended his open-air lectures and discourses. He is often depicted with a bird on his hand or shoulder.
St. Isidore is the patron saint of all things computer science: the computers, the discipline, and the programmers themselves. He's also the patron saint of technology and the internet because the way he structured his work, "Etymologia," similar to a database.
St. Lucy, frequently depicted with her eyes on a plate, was martyred during the persecution of Diocletian around 303 AD. After she rejected a suitor and sent him her eyes, which he so admired, she was executed with a sword.
Saint Erasmus of Formiae, or St. Elmo, was martyred around the year 303 AD. He's also the patron saint of ammunition, sailors, and women in labor.
The patient man who cared for Mary and Jesus, St. Joseph is the patron saint of all fathers. He lived the life of a model father. He is also the patron saint of unborn children, travelers and happy death.
St. Joseph of Arimathea, the man who requested Jesus' body from Pontius Pilate, is the patron saint of funeral directors and undertakers because of his selfless act in burying Jesus.
St. Valentine is the patron saint of both greetings and courtly love. This has nothing to do with the life he led; rather, it was because people thought birds began to find mates on Feb. 14th, his feast day. He is also the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy.
Both St. Denis and St. Teresa are patron saints of headaches: St. Denis because of his beheading, and St. Teresa perhaps because of her illnesses.
St. Elizabeth led a difficult life after losing her husband to illness. Her decision to convert to the Catholic faith from Protestantism was extremely unpopular with her extended family!
St. John studied law and became governor of Perugia. After his conversion to Christianity, he joined the Franciscan order.
St. Benedict's is the father of Western monasticism. Some monks, displeased with his strict rules, tried to poison him, but Benedict blessed the food and the poison became inert.
St. Roch is the patron saint of dogs because a dog rescued him from death! The dog brought him food and someone to help him recover, then became his traveling companion.
St. Jude the Apostle is patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations on account of the exhortations contained in the Epistle of St. Jude. He's also known as the "Forgotten Saint" because early Christians mistook him for Judas Iscariot.
St. Zita was quite the rebel: as the maid to a rich family, she spent much of her time tending to the poor instead of doing her work at their home. Legend has it that the family found angels tending to the chores in her stead! She is the patron of domestic help and lost keys.
St. Monica's marriage was extremely difficult - her husband was not only temperamental, but he was also frequently unfaithful to her. After years of her prayers, he converted to Christianity and worked to become a better husband. St. Monica is the patron saint of married women and alcoholics.
Little is known about St. Dymphna's life, but legend says her father, a pagan king, went mad and tried to marry her. When she refused, he killed her.
Anyone with a public speaking engagement coming up might want to give St. John Chrysostom a try: his name means "golden-mouthed."
The patron of police officers and paratroopers, Michael is known in the Bible as an angel who fights Satan and his devils. He is known as a protector and a champion of those near death.
St. Martin lived in Peru in the sixteenth century and studied the medical arts. He was persecuted for being of mixed race. He never turned away a needy person at his door and was happy to perform the most mundane tasks in service of others.
Even though his classmates teased him as a "dumb ox," Aquinas went on to be renowned for his academic work. He is the father of Thomistic theology.
As a young girl, she fell while skating and severely injured her ribs. The resulting infection caused a terribly painful death over the course of many years. She saw supernatural visions of heaven, hell, Christ and the stigmata.
One night, when she wished to visit with her brother, St. Benedict, she prayed for him to be prevented from leaving. God answered her prayer with a thunderstorm that kept him at her home until morning!
St. Blaise once rescued a boy who choked on a fish bone, and now Catholics celebrate his feast day by receiving a blessing of the throat.
St. Giles is, surprisingly, also a patron saint of breastfeeding! It may have been due to his strict diet of water, vegetation and deer milk.
Those hoping to discern their purpose in life are referred to St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori, the patron saint of vocations. He co-founded a new religious order and navigated the tumultuous political structures of the time.
St. Elizabeth is the patron saint of war not because she encouraged war, but because she actively promoted peace during several wars, especially during the war between her husband and her son.
St. Joan of Arc fought for her country's liberation from the English and died after being falsely accused of heresy. The ruling was overturned years later, after the political controversy subsided.
St. Rose of Lima was actually named Isabel, but received the nickname "Rose" early in life after a servant envisioned her face as a rose. St. Rose is the patroness of embroiderers and gardeners, as well as florists. St. Therese is not the patron saint of florists, but her love of flowers is widely known. It is said that St. Therese will send you a rose in answer to a novena.
St. Luke, author of one of the four Gospels, was by profession a physician. He is also the patron of painters.
This saint is most well known for founding Opus Dei, which means "Work of God." His organization was intended to help regular people grow closer to God.
Today, the well-known St. Vincent de Paul organization bears the saint's name. He founded the order of The Sisters of Charity and devoted his life to the poor and the sick.
Her patronage comes from the incident during which she hosted Jesus and his disciples. She was so worried about serving them that she didn't get to spend enough time with Jesus himself.
Career women, take note: the patron saint of businesswomen is St. Margaret Clitherow. She was martyred for secretly protecting priests in her home in sixteenth-century England.
St. Dominic was a strong proponent of countering heresy with reason rather than force. He preached against the Albigensians.
St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost articles, along with sailors and fishermen. He was a compassionate Franciscan, known as a great preacher and miracle worker.