As in most religions, the honoured dead of Christianity -- real or fictitious men and women known for their piety -- are referred to as "saints" (holy persons). In what some scholars believe was an attempt to appeal to pagans who worshipped various polytheistic pantheons, the Catholic Church long ago established the concept of the "intercession of saints," the idea that the saints of the Church have "the ear of God," and that prayers made by them in Heaven are more powerful or efficacious than prayers made on Earth by common people.
In order to facilitate the process of intercession, it has for centuries been the practice of the Catholic Pope to declare that certain occupations and conditions of life have official "patron" saints who take special interest in those specific matters. Attested miracles connected with an occupation or condition that ocurred during the saint's life or through intercessory prayer after his or her death influence the realm of life over which he or she is declared a patron.
Many Catholics address the Virgin Mary with direct prayers and do not ask her to intercede on their behalfs with Jehovah, but although this is a common practice, technically speaking, Mary is not a deity but a holy person, and therefore prayers addressed to her are also called "intercessions." In acknowledgement of her widespread popularity, Mary's various manifestations and apparitions have been given patronage over an assortment of occupations and conditions by the Church, as if she were a multiplicity of saints.
The list of Patron Saints below is by no means complete, and it contains several individuals who have not received Papal approval but find common acceptance among folk-Catholics in various regions. Some people call these non-canonical intercessors "Folk Saints." They fall roughly into three categories:
"Legendary" Saints: During the 20th century some former Catholic saints, such as Saint Christopher, were down-graded by the Church to the status of mere "legends" because there was no documentation that they had ever lived. This did not stop their veneration in the nations which had been the centers of their cults, and for that reason they are still believed to be patron saints by many Catholics.
"Not Yet" Saints: Catholics tend to lobby for the bestowal of sainthood status upon local holy people, thus we see novenas, statuary, amulets, and candles produced in advance of a person's beatification and sainthood in the hope of accumulating examples of intercessions by these non-canonical figures. Dr. Jose Gregorio Hernandez of Venezuela and Nino Fidencio of Mexico are prominent examples of this type of Folk-Saint.
"Mythical" Saints: These are entities who have never been saints and can never become saints because in the eyes of the Church, they do not really exist. The best known example may be the spirit known as Santisima Muerte or Santa Muerte (Most Holy Death or Saint Death) . She is not recognized as a saint by the Vatican, yet statuary and amulets depicting her skeletal form and printed Novena booklets filled with prayers to her can be purchased throughout Mexico.
Within the folk-Catholic traditions, information about these saints and the areas of life over which they assume patronage is passed along through word of mouth and by means of holy cards which often have short printed prayers or orations on the reverse, novena booklets containing longer prayers and a biographical note, and novena candles with a short prayer for intercession on the back.
OCCUPATION SAINT or CONDITION Accountants St. Matthew Actors St. Genesius Adopted Children St. Thomas More Air Travellers St. Joseph Cupertino Amputees Saint Anthony Animals Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Martin de Porres Architects Saint Barbara Arthritis St. James Artillery Saint Barbara Artists St. Luke Astronomers St. Dominic Athletes St. Sebastian Aviators Our Lady of Loretto, St. Joseph Cupertino Bachelors Saint Christopher Bail Bondsmen St. Raymond Bakers St. Nicholas, St. Honoratus Bankers St. Matthew Barren Women Saint Anthony Basket-Makers St. Hilarion Battle Saint Michael Archangel Birds Saint Francis of Assisi Blacksmiths St. James, St. Dunstan Blindness St. Lucy, St. Raphael Archangel Bodily Ills Our Lady of Lourdes Bookkeepers St. Matthew Boy Scouts St. George Breast Cancer Saint Agatha Brewers St. Luke, St. Nicholas Bricklayers St. Stephen Brides St. Nicholas Builders Saint Barbara Businesses San Martin Caballero Butchers St. Luke, Saint Anthony Cab Drivers St. Fiacre Cabinetmakers St. Anne Cancer Patients Saint Agatha, St. Peregrine Candlemakers St. Ambrose Carpenters Saint Joseph Cavalry St. George Charitable Societies St. Vincent de Paul Childbirth St. Anne, St. Gerard, St. Ramon Childhood Rape Victims Saint Dymphna Children St. Nicholas Infant of Prague Guardian Angel Chivalry St. George Churches Saint Joseph Civil Servants St. Thomas More Clergy St. Charles Comedians St. Genesius, St. Vitus Composers St. Cecilia Conception St. Gabriel Archangel Cooks St. Lawrence, St. Martha Counsel The Holy Spirit Court Workers St. Thomas More Cranky Children St. Sebastian Dancers St. Vitus Desperation Saint Jude Dieticians St. Martha Difficult Marriages St. Thomas More Diplomats St. Gabriel Archangel Dog Bite St. Hubert Dog Lovers St. Roch Domestic Workers St. Martha Doubters Saint Joseph Dream Interpretation St. Gabriel Archangel Druggists St. Raphael Archangel Dying Saint Barbara Saint Joseph Editors St. John Bosco Environmentalists Saint Francis of Assisi EMTs St. Luke Enemies of Religion St. Sebastian Engineers Saint Joseph Epilepsy St. Vitus Eye Diseases St. Raphael Archangel Eyes St. Lucy Faith Saint Anthony Falsely Accused St. Gerard, St. Raymond Families Saint Joseph Family Harmony Saint Dymphna Farmers St. Isidore, St. George Fathers Saint Joseph Fever St. Peter Fire St. Lawrence Firefighters St. Florian Fireworks Saint Barbara Fishermen St. Andrew, St. Peter Florists St. Theresa Foot Trouble St. Peter Gardeners St. Fiacre, St. Sebastian Glass Industry St. Luke Glaziers St. Mark Goldsmiths St. Luke Gout Sufferers St. Andrew Grandmothers St. Anne Gravediggers Saint Anthony Greetings St. Valentine Grocers Saint Michael Archangel Hairdressers Saint Martin de Porres Happy Death Saint Joseph Guardian Angel Hardware St. Sebastian Healing of Wounds St. Rita Hermits St. Hilarion Hesitation Saint Joseph HIV-AIDS Patients St. Lazarus of Dives Home Builders Our Lady of Loretto Home Sellers Saint Joseph Homosexuals St. Sebastian Horsemen St. Anne, San Martin Caballero Hospital Staff Saint Martin de Porres Housekeepers St. Anne Housewives St. Anne Hunters St. Hubert Illegal Drug Dealers Jesus Malverde Illegal Immigrants Nino Fidencio Impossible Causes Saint Jude Incest Victims Saint Dymphna Infertility Saint Anthony Insanity Saint Dymphna Invalids St. Roch Jewelers St. Luke Jurists St. Juan Capistrano Kidnap Victims Nino de Atocha Laborers St. James Lamp Makers Our Lady of Loretto Lawyers St. Genesius, St. Thomas More Leather Workers Sts. Crispin & Crispinian Librarians St. Jerome Lightning Saint Barbara Locksmiths St. Dunstan Loneliness St. Rita Long Life St. Peter Lost Articles Saint Anthony Lovers St. Valentine, St. Raphael Archangel Lumbago St. Lawrence Machinists St. Hubert Marital Fidelity Santisima Muerte Masons The Two Sts. John, St. Clement Medical Students Dr. Jose Gregorio Hernandez Mental Illness Saint Dymphna Merchants Saint Francis of Assisi Messengers St. Gabriel Archangel Midwives St. Raymond Milliners St. Catherine Miners Saint Barbara Missing Persons Saint Anthony, Nino de Atocha Missions St. Theresa Monastics St. Benedict Monks St. Benedict Motorcyclists O.L. Miraculous Musicians St. Cecilia Navigators O.L. Star of the Sea Needle Workers Saint Francis of Assisi Nerves Saint Dymphna Notaries St. Luke, St. Mark Nurses Saint Agatha, St. Camillus Occultists St. Cyprian, St. Albertus Magnus Organ Makers St. Genesius Painters St. Luke Paramedics St. Luke Paratroopers Saint Michael Archangel Pawnbrokers St. Nicholas Peddlers St. Lucy Peril At Sea Saint Michael Archangel O.L. Caridad d. Cobre Pets Saint Martin de Porres Pharmacists Sts. Cosmos & Damian Philosophers St. Catherine of Alexandria Physicians St. Luke, St. Raphael Archangel, Dr. Jose Gregorio Hernandez Pioneers Saint Joseph Plague Victims St. Roch Plasterers St. Bartholemew Poets St. David Poison Sufferers St. Benedict Police Officers Saint Michael Archangel Poor Saint Anthony, St. Lawrence Porters Saint Christopher Postal Workers Saint Gabriel Archangel Potters St. Sebastian Pregnant Women St. Gerard St. Raymond Printers St. Augustine Prisoners Saint Barbara, St. Raymond, Nino de Atocha Prisoners of War St. Leonard Procrastinaters Saint Expedite Public Relations St. Paul Radio Saint Gabriel Archangel Race Relations Saint Martin de Porres Radiologists Saint Michael Archangel Realtors Saint Joseph Rheumatism St. James Sailors St. Brendan, Saint Christopher St. Nicholas, O.L. Star of the Sea, O.L. Caridad d. Cobre Salesmen St. Lucy Shoemakers Sts. Crispin & Crispinian Scholars & Schools St. Thomas Aquinas Scientists St. Albertus Magnus Sculptors St. Claude Secretaries St. Genesius Seminarians St. Charles Servants St. Martha Service Women St. Joan of Arc Ship Builders St. Peter Sick St. Camillus, Saint Michael Archangel Sick Poor Saint Martin de Porres Singers St. Gregory, St. Cecilia Skin Disease St. Peregrine, St. Lazarus of Dives Snake Bite St. Patrick Social Justice Saint Joseph Soldiers St. George, St. Joan of Arc, St. Sebastian Solitary Death Saint Francis of Assisi Souls in Purgatory Anima Sola, Our Lady Mt. Carmel Speedy Results Saint Expedite Infant of Prague Stationers St. Peter Steel Workers St. Sebastian Stenographers St. Cassian Tangiers Stock Brokers St. Matthew Stomach Trouble St. Charles Storms Saint Barbara Stone Carvers St. Peter Students St. Thomas Aquinas Surgeons Sts. Cosmos & Damian Surgery Patients Infant of Prague Tanners St. James Tax Collectors St. Matthew Teachers St. Gregory Television St. Clara, Saint Gabriel Archangel Temptation Saint Michael Archangel Theologians St. Thomas Aquinas Throat Trouble St. Cecilia Tilesetters The Two Sts. John Tongue Trouble St. Catherine Toothache St. Patrick Travel Safety Saint Christopher Truck Drivers Saint Christopher Tuberculosis St. Theresa Tumor St. Rita Ulcers St. Charles Undertakers St. Sebastian Veterinarians St. James, Saint Martin de Porres Vocalists St. Cecilia Watchmakers Saint Joseph, St. Peter Widows St. Paula Wisdom St. Sophia Workingmen Saint Joseph Writers St. Lucy, St. Catherine of Sienna
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