Why do we do that? Catholic Life Explained

June 2, 2021

Question: Why are some saints honored as “patron saints”?

Answer: Each person is unique and each of us has different gifts, interests, talents, and, yes, even struggles and areas where we need to grow. This is no less true of those holy women, men, and children who have been canonized or beatified.

Because we believe that the saints and blesseds are both models of faith and intercessors, Christians have looked to certain holy people as role models and heavenly protectors for occupations, spiritual charisms, and even places. Although the Church sometimes names a person as a patron saint (e.g. Saint Philip Neri as the patron of Rome, Saint Clare of Assisi as the patroness of television, or Saint Aloysius Gonzaga as the patron of youth and young adults), more often it is popular devotion that inspires lay Christians to turn to a particular saint or blessed for heavenly help and support. This is how, for example, Saint Cecilia came to be honored as the patroness of musicians, Saint Toribio Romo as patron of migrants coming into the United States, and Saint Gertrude of Nivelles as patroness of cat lovers. Although there are official and unofficial lists of patron saints, we should always feel free to ask any and all the saints to give us their patronage and protection in whatever it is that we need.