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compiled by catherine yronwode
from Catholic Church and Folk Sources

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Although the Christian religion is monotheistic and all replies to prayers are said to come from the grace of Jehovah, in practice, prayers to Jesus and the Holy Spirit (the other two members of the Christian Trinity), are acceptable to all Christians, and prayers to The Virgin Mary (the mother of Jesus) have a long history of popular usage dating back to pre-Christian European Goddess-centered paganism.

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.

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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.

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"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.


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 Loreto,
                       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 Loreto
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 Loreto
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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Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
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