All About Catholic Saints

The Catholic Church has recognized a wide variety of saints throughout history, from those who lived holy lives to martyrs who died for their faith. Catholic saints are figures of peace, comfort, protection, and miracles for practicing Catholics who seek them out during prayer. Catholic saints are people who lived extraordinary lives with a wide range of fascinating backstories that earned them their sainthood. 

Throughout history, many saints have been recognized by the Catholic Church. From sacrifices made to exceptionally selfless postures, there is extensive diversity in the histories of each saint’s story. 

Whether you’re exploring your faith, wanting to practice prayer, perhaps for pregnancy, health, or wealth, or just looking to learn more information, here is everything you need to know about Catholic saints.

Who Are the Catholic Saints?

The Catholic saints are a group of people with various backgrounds and accomplishments. The Catholic Church has recognized them for remarkable displays of virtue, holiness, and devotion to God. Catholic saints are acknowledged as intercessors between believers and God who lived lives worthy of inspiring others to the Catholic faith. 

Although some Catholic saints include kings, queens, nuns, and priests, there is no required title for a saint to hold during their life – the Catholic Church recognizes saints based upon action. Catholic saints include everyday people, such as parents, widows, missionaries, and anyone who lived a life deemed worthy of being a saint. 

You’ve probably heard of Catholic Saints without even realizing it! For example, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas? He’s the Patron Saint of Children!

How Many Catholic Saints Are There? 

The Catholic Church has officially recognized over 10,000 saints throughout history. However, if you’re wondering how many saints are in the Catholic Church, the number goes beyond those officially canonized as saints.

Catholic “saints” aren’t just those officially approved by the Catholic Church; saints also include everyone in heaven. So those who have not been officially canonized but have lived virtuous lives, were martyred for the faith, or offered their lives for others and served as an inspiration to Catholics can be assumed to be saints. 

How to Become a Catholic Saint 

In the Catholic Church, a specific process called canonization must be followed for recognized sainthood. A thorough investigation of the person’s writings, life, and spiritual impact on the world must be performed. Catholic saints are revered as examples of Christian qualities for the world, and the canonization process confirms that they lived an exemplary life in the Catholic faith.

During canonization, prospects must first become Venerable, a title given to a deceased person the pope has recognized as someone who offered their life or lived it virtuously. Then, the candidate can be recognized as Blessed if, through their intercession, a miracle occurs. To be canonized as a saint, a second miracle must occur after they have been recognized as Blessed. Although these steps are typically necessary for canonization, the pope has the authority to waive these requirements. 

Do Catholics Pray to Saints? 

Although Catholic saints are holy, they are venerated, not worshipped. Rather than praying to saints, practicing Catholics pray to Jesus. However, in the Catholic religion, you can ask saints to pray for you, which is known as intercessory prayer. 

The practice of bringing a prayer to a saint is similar to giving a prayer request to a friend. Although Catholic saints are not the ones being prayed to, many Catholics find peace and comfort in the practice of asking saints to pray for them. 

What is a Patron Saint? 

Although all patron saints are saints, not all saints are patron saints. Patron saints have been chosen to represent specific causes or occupations and can be sought out to help Catholics in relevant situations. They advocate for and protect specific groups, professions, or places. Although patron saints are not prayed to, patron saints are often requested to intercede on behalf of those who seek their help. 

For example, Saint Rita is the patron saint of impossible causes and is often sought out by women struggling with infertility to help them conceive. St. Gerard is the patron saint of expectant mothers and is often prayed to by those trying to conceive. 

List of Patron Saints and What They Protect 

Here is a list of well-known patron saints and what they each protect. 

Saint Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of soldiers and the police. He is one of three archangels, along with St. Gabriel and St. Raphael. St. Michael is mentioned more than once in the Bible, establishing his significance in both heavenly and earthly matters. 

St. Michael is known as the angel that battles Satan in Revelation 20:1-3 and was known to have defeated the Devil when he first fell. His victories against Satan earned him recognition as the patron saint of those who work dangerous jobs (like the police or military). 

St. Micheal is revered for his strength and dedication to God, putting his loyalty to God above all else and using impressive determination to defeat evil. St. Micheal is often called upon by Catholics looking for protection and defense. 

Saint Rita 

St. Rita was a wife, mother, and widow living in Cascia, Italy. She endured 18 years of harshness and cruelty on behalf of her late husband throughout their marriage. Her husband, along with her two sons, died while she was still alive. 

She was known for her charity, abundant prayer life, and self-discipline. She is the patron saint of impossible causes, infertility, parenthood, and difficult marriages. 

Saint Jude

St. Jude is known as the patron saint of miracles and lost causes. He was a disciple of Christ who wrote the Letter of Jude in the New Testament. A close relative to Jesus, he worked to spread the gospel all over the world as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19-20. His preaching led him to be punished by death as a martyr. 

He is prayed with for miracles for those in difficult trials and hope for the hopeless. St. Jude is often prayed with during times of desperate need, illness, or depression. 

Saint Therese

Nicknamed “Little Flower,” St. Therese is a well-known saint. She lived as a nun in Lisieux, France, and died in 1897 at the age of 24. She wrote the famous autobiography The Story of a Soul and focused her efforts on prayer and hard work. 

Her holiness and dedication to hidden sacrifice earned her sainthood, and she is revered for her selfless tendencies. St. Therese is the patron saint of missionaries, priests, pilots, and florists. 

Saint Joseph

St. Joseph is a very famous Catholic figure. He was the earthly father to Jesus Christ, married to the Virgin Mary. He followed God’s command to marry Mary and raise Jesus during his youth, exemplifying dedication, humility, love, and faithfulness to God. 

Due to his occupation as a carpenter and the example of workmanship that he set, he is known as the patron saint of fathers and workers. He serves as an inspiration to be faithful to God and honor Him through hard work, integrity, and serving one’s family. 

Saint Gerard 

St. Gerard grew up in poverty and had a great level of respect for the poor, often feeding people in need. He upheld the three vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty and worked many jobs. Due to his gift for reading consciences and his wisdom and devotion to his faith, he was allowed to counsel communities of religious women. Sick or poor people often called upon him, and he helped many with grace and humility. 

St. Gerard is the patron saint of expectant mothers, women in childbirth, those trying to conceive, children, unborn children, good confessions, motherhood, falsely accused people, lay brothers, and Muro Lucano, Italy. 

Saint Anthony

St. Anthony is often referred to as the “Wonder Worker” due to miracles that have been observed after his intercession. St. Anthony was alive in Portugal during the 12th and 13th centuries and traveled the world as a preacher to spread the Catholic faith. He was given a divine ability to defend the church from heresies, resulting in his nickname “Hammer of Heretics.” 

He was known for his gentleness and humility, and he lived out his purpose by performing miracles and preaching sermons that would win lost souls to Christ. Thus, he is known as the patron saint of lost items. He is also known to comfort the poor, hungry, expectant mothers and unmarried or infertile women. 

Saint Gianna

St. Gianna was an Italian pediatrician known as diligent, hard-working, and faithful. She bore three children and, in her fourth pregnancy, developed a life-threatening tumor. She was faced with three choices: to have an abortion, to have a hysterectomy and prevent future complications, or to remove the tumor and potentially impose further health conditions but protect her baby. Despite being aware of the danger she would be in, she chose to save her baby and died shortly after giving birth

St. Gianna is the patron saint of unborn children, mothers, and physicians and is often sought out to help expecting mothers have a healthy delivery. 

Saint Joan of Arc

St. Joan of Arc, a very well-known saint, was a French teenager who played a significant role in the victories of her country during the Hundred Years’ War. She led the French Army into battle alongside the English after receiving visions from St. Margaret, St. Michael the Archangel, and St. Catherine of Alexandria. Although she loyally served her country and put her faith on display, she was put on trial and sentenced to be burned at the stake due to speculation that she was a witch. Throughout these trials, she refused to renounce her faith and died as a martyr at just 19 years old. 

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks

Anna Rapp
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