Ae we started finding out in THIS previous article on saints with weird patronages, Catholics have a saint for everything! Here are a dozen more saints with strange patronages.
1. Spelunkers – St. Benedict
Spelunkers climb around in caves which is why St. Benedict, who was a hermit and lived in a cave for many years, is called upon as their patron.
2. Vegetarians – St. Nicholas of Tolentino
St. Nicholas of Tolentino was a priest in the Augustinian order and gave up meat completely as a personal penance. Once, when he was served a roasted chicken, he made the sign of the cross over it and it was changed into roasted vegetables.
3. Volcanic Eruptions – St. Agatha
About a century after St. Agatha’s martyrdom, the volcano Mount Etna erupted. As lava rolled down the mountain towards the city of Catania, the Christians of the city removed St. Agatha’s veil from her shrine and processed it throughout the city, asking for her intercession. Just before reaching the city, the lava changed directions and flowed harmlessly into the sea. Ever since, every time Catania has been threatened by a volcano, the citizens have processed her veil throughout the streets, begging her intercession- and it has worked! Most recently, their prayers were answered in the twentieth century.
4. Pawnbrokers – St. Nicholas of Myra
This patronage stems from the famous story of St. Nicholas throwing a bag of gold through the window to three girls who couldn’t pay dowries and were to be driven to lives as prostitutes, thus saving them from such a fate. In the Middle Ages, pawn shops were actually charitable institutions where poor people could put up personal belongings as collateral for small loans. St. Nicholas was taken as their patron because of his act of charity towards an impoverished family. Interestingly, St. Nicholas is often portrayed with three gold balls- a reference to his charity- and pawnbrokers adopted this symbol of their patron as their professional emblem.
5. Public Schools – St. Martin de Porres
St. Martin de Porres was the illegitimate son of a freed African slave and a Spanish gentleman, but his father refused to acknowledge him or provide for him, and his family lived in poverty until he was eight when his father relented. His wretched childhood taught him compassion and so when he came into possession of a large house, St. Martin turned it into an orphanage and opened a school in it where he taught the children how to support themselves once they became adults.
6. Marksmen – St. Gabriel Possenti
St. Gabriel Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows was a rather frail twenty-two year old Passionist seminarian. In 1860, when deserters were raiding the town, St. Gabriel went to confront them. During a struggle with one of the raiders, he managed to grab the man’s pistol and, holding him at gunpoint, told him to get out of the town. The other raiders just laughed at him and began closing in. Just then, a lizard dashed across the square. St. Gabriel shot the lizard through the head! St. Gabriel then ordered the raiders to drop their weapons and escorted them out of town at gunpoint.
7. Miners – St. Anne
St. Anne is the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and miners taking her as their patron is for metaphorical reasons- her daughter is like silver and her grandson (Jesus Christ) is like pure gold, exactly what miners look for!
8. Funeral Directors – St. Joseph of Arimathea
St. Joseph of Arimathea was the one who went to Pontius Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. He then, with Nicodemus, took down Christ’s body from the cross, cared for Him, wrapped Him in linen, and laid Him in the tomb he had once prepared for himself. Funeral directors do much of the same for the bodies of the deceased and also offer help and support to the grieving families- it is no wonder that St. Joseph of Arimathea is their patron.
9. Hairstylists – St. Mary Magdalene
St. Mary Magdalene once wept on the feet of Jesus and washed them with her hair. She is often depicted with long, loose hair. Because of this, hairstylists were led to choose her as their patroness.
10. Embroiderers – St. Parasceva
St. Parasceva, when she was 10, heard the Gospel passage, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). She took the words literally and gave away all of her fine garments to the poor. When those were gone, she then made clothes for them, instead. Parasceva’s parents objected to this expense and so, in her early teens, she left home and spent the rest of her life as a pilgrim.
11. Coughs – St. Quentin
St. Quentin preached the Gospel in Gaul (modern-day France), in a town that is now known as Saint-Quentin, and was arrested and tortured horribly. At one point, St. Quentin’s executioners poured a concoction of lime, vinegar, and mustard down his throat, which has led to his invocation against coughs.
12. Bartenders – St. Amand of Maastricht
St. Amand was bishop of Maastricht (modern-day Belgium) but felt called to carry the Gospel to the regions of France and Germany where it was unknown. By chance, those regions, as we know, became prime producers of beer and wine. Tavern keepers (aka bartenders) then took St. Amand as their patron because of his dedication to the faith in those regions.