Sunflower Seeds logo

Sunflower Seeds


Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Some Fun with Patron Saints

A patron saint is a saint who is considered a heavenly advocate or special helper of a nation, place, occupation, activity, clan, family, or person. Some well-known patron saints include these: Mary under the title of “Immaculate Conception” (USA), St. Patrick (Ireland), St. Nicholas (children), St. Gerard Majella (expectant mothers), and St. Luke and Saints Cosmas and Damien (doctors).

When I was having computer problems a while ago, I wondered if the Church had named a patron saint for the internet. Though there’s no “official” patron saint of the internet, there is an “unofficial” one. It’s St. Isidore of Seville who lived in the 7th Century. Now how could a guy who lived 14 Centuries ago be the patron saint of the internet? I decided to look him up (fittingly) on the internet. Isidore was born in Spain in 560 and eventually became an archbishop. He was considered “the most learned man of his age.” In fact, he is credited with writing the first “encyclopedia.” It was a 20 volume work called Etymologiae, and it was the Wikipedia of his day. In his massive work, Isidore tried to summarize all the knowledge of the 7th Century—at least in the West. So he wrote about math, music, science, medicine, law, philosophy, history, geography, etc. In doing so, he cited very few sources. And much of what he wrote was based more on his opinion than actual research. (Sound familiar?)

A book on Blessed Carlo Acutis.

But St. Isidore is not the only holy person “connected” to the internet. In 2006, an Italian teenager named Carlo Acutis died of leukemia at age 15. Described as a “computer geek,” this young man was an amateur computer programmer. More than that, he used the internet in service of the gospel. He was beatified in 2020 and has been dubbed the patron saint of the internet. So, if you’re having computer or internet problems, try calling on Isi or Carlo. (I bet they get a lot of “prayers”!)

Here are a few more more patron saints of occupations, places, conditions. Some I will just name. Others I’ll say a word or two about. Here goes—in alphabetical order:

apple orchards: St. Charles Borromeo; astronauts: St. Joseph Cupertino (he levitated frequently); barbers: St. Martin de Porres; book trade: St. John of God; button makers: St. Louis, the King of France; he is also the patron saint of soldiers; cab drivers: St. Joseph (he “taxied” Mary to Bethlehem and later Mary and baby Jesus to Egypt. And he turned the meter off both times!)

dieticians: St. Martha (she cooked meals for the most important friend/guest in human history: Jesus. I bet he wasn’t a fussy eater either!); drought and other natural disasters: St. Genevieve ( she preserved her city from Attila by encouraging the people to pray and fast); falling: St. Venantius, a third century Italian martyr. (Part of his torture was being thrown off a high cliff—which he somehow survived. But in the end, he was beheaded); grandparents: Saints Joachim and Anne (They are, according to legend, Mary’s parents, Jesus’ grandparents); in-law problems: too many saints to list!; law suits; St. Agia

Brother Mickey McGrath has illustrated several books about patron saints. On the cover is St. Apollonia, patron saint of dentists and toothaches! (Six years ago I did a blog on McGrath. To access it, just type “Brother Mickey and the Saints” in the search box at the top right.)

libraries, librarians: St. Jerome (he translated the scriptures into Latin), St. Catherine of Alexandria (a very learned woman); lost articles: St. Anthony of Padua (If you lose something, just say this little couplet: “Tony, Tony, come around, something’s lost and can’t be found!); mechanics: St. Catherine of Alexandria—again! (She’s often pictured with a spoked wheel which was the instrument of torture her executioners tried [unsuccessfully] to use on her); St. Eligius (a mastercraftsman who is often shown with a hammer and anvil)

paratroopers: St. Michael the Archangel (I guess that makes sense…); pets: Anthony the Abbot (he is also the patron of farm animals. Some farmers put his image above their barn doors); photography: St. Veronica (when Jesus was carrying his cross, legend says she wiped his face with her veil. The image of his face appeared on her veil: the first “photograph” in history! This story is not found in scripture); plumbers and builders: St. Vincent Ferrer (a Dominican who lived during the time there were three popes! I guess he cleaned the clogged pipes of church leadership and helped re-build the Church!); politicians: St. Thomas More (a layman who was chancellor of England during the reign of King Henry VIII. Thomas’ loyalty to his king had limits. Because he refused to accept Henry as leader of the Church, Thomas lost not only his office but also his head.) Popes: St. Peter (one would expect him) and St. Gertrude the Great (she counseled Popes during her life time)

postal workers: St. Gabriel the Archangel (he was entrusted with delivering the most significant “letter” in history: God’s asking Mary to be the mother of Jesus); rheumatoid arthritis sufferers: St. James the Greater, St. Killian, St. Servatus (many people get arthritis, so we need many patron saints here); scientists: St. Albert the Great; seasickness and sailors: Erasmus also known as St. Elmo… (I wonder if he was ticklish?)

By far, one of the most popular patron saints is St. Joseph, patron of fathers, workers of all kinds, the universal church, house sellers and buyers, immigrants, cab drivers, a happy death–and more! (Photo by Keith Lobo – Pexels)

silence: St. John Nepomucene (a popular Czech saint, a priest, who refused to reveal what the Queen of Bohemia had said in confession. Tradition says he was killed because of this); stock brokers: St. Matthew (makes sense); teachers: Pope St. Gregory the Great, St. John Baptist de la Salle (founder of the Christian Brothers), St. Angela Merici (founder of the Ursulines), St. Julie Billiart (founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame), and others;

television: St. Clare (the legend says one day she was too ill to attend Mass in chapel. But the sounds and images of the entire Mass appeared on the wall of her room. I bet it was hi-def too!); toothaches and dentists: Apollonia (it alludes to the way she was tortured before being martyred. I won’t go into detail) ; zoos: St. Francis of Assisi (you probably could have guessed that).

For reflection:

Did anything stand out for you in this reflection?

Do you ever pray to the saints? If so, which one(s) and why? If not, why not?

Do you have a favorite saint?

In honor of Pentecost, I chose this song: “Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God” by Keith and Kristyn Getty. I like it because it names many of the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as faithfulness, joy, gentleness, kindness, peace… I wish all these gifts for all of you, my wonderful readers…

I invite you to comment below on anything related to today’s reflection, song, pictures…

22 Responses

  1. St. Lucy – patron saint of those with vision problems. In our aging generation with cataracts and macular degeneration, a comforting saint and protector.

  2. Good morning your choice of song this morning was a beautiful way for me to begin my day. The verse from Ephesians is one my favorites so glad to be reminded of it this morning. God is able to do so much more than I can ask or imagine!! Thank you, Enjoy today!

  3. I like to read the saint or saints of the day from Ellsberg’s book Blessed Among Us. These men and women are necessarily canonized but have lived an exemplary life and it puts a positive tone to my day. When I taught
    I’d write the name of the saint of the day and some pertinent fact for the students to write into their religion notebook. It was what we called “bell work”— waiting for the beginning bell. Then we’d play various quiz
    games. I hope they carried on their curiosity for the saints

  4. When I was confirmed as a youth, I chose St. Marcelinus because I thought he was the centurion played by Richard Burton in the Nonie, “The Robe.” A couple years ago, I discovered Marcelinus was a clergy, I think in Africa or Egypt, who was beheaded for his faith. The Holy Spirit probably knew I needed a beheaded patron saint because I am always losing my head.

  5. Good morning, Sr. Melannie…

    Great fun! My confirmation name is Anthony, and since I have this habit of losing things, he and I have become very well acquainted!

    I have a colleague named Julie, who has helped me with about a bazillion computer/internet issues. My friend Bob and I call her the Patron saint of technologically inept old men!

    Have a great week!

  6. Loved your Saints. As it happens,I asked my RCIA persons to lookup and tell me this week the stories of their patron Saints. Can’t wait to hear these stories. I have been praying for help from St Patrick(given the state of Ireland these days I figure he is not too busy) and Venerable Bishop Sheen just because.

  7. When I was a child preparing for Confirmation, I was given a book of saints appropriate for kids in the 1940s. Philip Neri appealed to me because he was described as doing foolish things, dressing in a clownish way, thus ingratiating himself to the citizens of a somewhat decadent 16th century Rome, and he charmed them into right living and organized devotion. At the time, I thought that having a sense of humor fit me to be not a clown but a funny fellow. It seemed right for several years. Eventually I learned that having a sense of humor is not always about laughing but often enlightens me about the ironic, poetically fitting, surprising and humbling ways of God.

  8. I recently fell over my dog (he’s fine) and hurt my arm. Good to know about St. Venantias and St. Anthony the Abbott. I ask St. Roch, patron of dogs, and St. Francis to pray for my canines when I leave the house. I have two golden retrievers.
    My favorite saints are St. Therese, St. Teresa, St. Monica, St. Augustine, St Padre Pio, and on and on. I love following all the saints’ feast days. And how could I forget our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph?
    If someone has a particular malady, I search the Internet to find a patron saint to intercede. Their prayers are powerful.
    Thanks for all your posts. They help me start my week.

    1. What a marvelous, thoughtful idea to ask a specific saint to intervene for an ailing friend! I will have to adopt that practice. Thank you for sharing, Calorie Shue!

  9. My granddaughter chose Saint Bahkita for her confirmation. She is the Saint of sex trafficking and was abducted from Sudan when she was very young never to see her family again. Her story is inspiring. Her faith and humility are encouraging as she rose above all the obstacles placed in her life. As always thank you Sister for your words of wisdom. Donna

  10. Thank you, Sister Melannie.
    Yes, I totally agree that intercessory prayers to saints…and guardian angels…are powerful. When my children were young, I constructed a patron saint litany, of sorts, enlisting the saints of my children’s first, middle, and Confirmation names. Now, after adding my children’s spouses’ names and our grandchildren’s, the litany has grown considerably.
    The goodness and attentiveness of the saints shine through to our day-to-day and provides a foretaste of heaven. God is good!

  11. Just 4 days ago, I learned of Blessed Carlo Acutis in a text message from my niece! I ordered his book online from Amazon Saturday and it arrived Sunday at about 4 pm. I started reading it immediately. I was unable to sleep last night thinking about it, so got up and read until 2 am. I have already started asking for his prayers and intercession! What an amazing gift from God!!

  12. Two things:

    1)I read about Carlo Acutis several years ago in, I think, “The Witness” (It was the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s newspaper. Now no longer.) I am so excited that he has been beatified.

    2)My son was confirmed in March. He is planning on being a welder, a plumber, in the trades somehow. He did his research and found the patron saint of metalworkers-St. Eligius! Again I was excited to see St. Eligius’ name. I told Matthew, “Sister Melanie just listed St. Eligius in her writing about patron saints. ” He just grinned and said, “See I told you he was cool-and REAL.”

  13. I grew up in St John Nepomucene parish in a small Czech town in Texas. I’m glad to see he’s one of the saints you listed.

    I enjoy reading your blog each week especially like the music videos. I always learn something new!

  14. St John Bosco and St John Chrysostom — patience!! O my I call on them daily….
    St Catherine of Bologna (the place, not the food) -Artists’ patron saint.

  15. I enjoyed reading your listing of patron saints but was disappointed that you didn’t include St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians. Her icon hangs near my piano.
    Once I lost a very special earring at San Pedro Retreat Center. After searching high and low, I shared my problem with those on retreat. We all prayed to St. Anthony and the earring was soon found.

  16. I’m reading this very late, your newest blog is already in my email, but I had to comment. I pray to many saints everyday, but especially to the Archangel Raphael and St. Rita of Casia, patrons of healing, as I have many physical issues. I also know of Keith and Krystyn Getty, found them on YouTube and love their music. Thank you Sister, for always providing us with such thought-provoking words.
    God Bless!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Blog Posts

(Please note: Today’s reflection deals with a very disurbing topic: war. Some of you may find this reflection very difficult to read. I understand. I found it very difficult to write.) Memorial Day will be celebrated next Monday in the U.S. This is the day set aside to remember and

Today I’m sharing with you a famous prayer/poem/ written by St. John Henry Newman. But first, a few words about this saint canonized by Pope Francis in October 2019. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was born in London, England, the eldest of six children. His father was a banker. As a

Meet Sr. Melannie

Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

Subscribe to Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Upcoming Events

Finding God in the Ordinary and Amazing: An Afternoon with Sister Melannie

Sunday, May 19, 2024 – 1:30 – 4:00 Central – via zoom

Sponsored by the Portiuncula Center for Prayer – Frankfort, Illinois

Fee: Donation

For details visit: [email protected]

Weekend retreat at Villa Maria Education and Spirituality Center, Pulaski, PA
October 11-13, 2024

October 11-13, 2024

Details to follow

Retreat with the Sisters of Loretto, Nerinx, KY
September 8-13, 2024

September 8-13, 2024

Details to follow

Retreat at Lial Renewal Center, Whitehouse, OH
August 11-18, 2024

August 11-18, 2024

Retreat at Heartland Center for Spirituality, Great Bend, KS
April 14-19, 2024

April 14-19, 2024

Details to follow