Leadership, Authority, and Religious Roles

What is a patron saint?

Patron saints function in some Christian communities as a human counterpart to guardian angels. There are two general types of patron saint. It was once common for some Christians to name their children after holy men and women, thus attaching the youngsters to “patrons” who would look after their spiritual needs. More often, saints are identified with groups of people, such as members of a profession (carpenters, musicians, mariners), or those with difficult circumstances, such as affliction with a particular illness or challenge. People pray to St. Jude, patron of lost causes, for relief from apparently incurable diseases. Some beseech St. Anthony for help in finding what has been lost.


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