As Catholics, we believe that the saints are our role models in faith and are also our companions in prayer. They’ve already run the race, and now they cheer us on from Heaven. We also believe that their prayers are powerful because they are close to God. But who should we turn to? Here are 21 saints you should be praying with if you’re striving to live out your Catholic faith in a robust way.
What Does the Church Say About Saints and Intercession?
Before diving into the list, it’s important to clarify what the Church teaches about saints. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness” (CCC 956). The saints aren’t just nice stories; they are real people who lived real lives and are now close to God in Heaven. The Church believes that we can ask them to pray for us, much like you’d ask a friend to pray for you in times of need. This isn’t worshiping the saints; it’s recognizing the community that exists within the Body of Christ.
Saints for Everyday Struggles
St. Therese of Lisieux
Famous for her “Little Way,” St. Therese shows us that even the smallest actions, done with love, can lead us to holiness. If you’re struggling with the mundane tasks of daily life, ask for her intercession.
St. Joseph the Worker
A carpenter by trade, St. Joseph knows the value of hard work and the dignity it brings. If you’re struggling in your work life, whether you’re unemployed or just uninspired, turn to St. Joseph.
If you’re grappling with anxiety or mental illness, St. Dymphna is a powerful intercessor. She is known for her own struggles and her trust in God through them.
For those who have wayward children or family members, St. Monica is an example of persistent prayer and trust in God. Her prayers eventually led to the conversion of her son, St. Augustine.
St. Rita of Cascia
St. Rita is the patron saint of impossible cases. If you find yourself in a situation that seems hopeless, ask for her prayers.
Saints for Spiritual Growth
St. Ignatius of Loyola
If you’re looking to deepen your spiritual life, St. Ignatius is your go-to saint. His Spiritual Exercises have been guiding people in deepening their relationship with God for centuries.
St. Teresa of Avila
St. Teresa is known for her deep mystical experiences and her wisdom about the spiritual life. Her writings, like “The Interior Castle,” offer keen insights for those seeking to deepen their prayer life.
St. John of the Cross
Author of “Dark Night of the Soul,” St. John speaks to those experiencing spiritual dryness or dark periods in their faith journey.
St. Francis de Sales
For those looking to balance their spiritual duties with their secular responsibilities, St. Francis de Sales offers practical advice in classics like “Introduction to the Devout Life.”
Saints for Family Life
St. Gianna Beretta Molla
A modern saint who was also a physician and a mother, St. Gianna is the patron saint of mothers, physicians, and unborn children.
St. Louis and Zelie Martin
The parents of St. Therese, they are patron saints for married couples and prove that sanctity can be found in family life.
St. Joachim and St. Anne
As the parents of the Virgin Mary, they provide an example of raising a holy family and trusting in God’s providence.
Saints for Times of Suffering
St. Padre Pio
Known for his stigmata, St. Padre Pio suffered much in his life but also brought about many miracles through his prayers.
St. Maximilian Kolbe
A martyr who volunteered to die in place of another man in a concentration camp, St. Maximilian Kolbe is an example of Christ-like love.
St. John Paul II
Having lived through multiple hardships including wars and the Communist regime, his motto “Do not be afraid” speaks volumes for those undergoing trials.
Saints for Evangelization
St. Paul the Apostle
Known for his missionary journeys and his fervor in spreading the Gospel, St. Paul is the patron saint of missionaries and evangelists.
St. Francis Xavier
A companion of St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier is known for his missionary work in Asia. He is the patron saint for missions.
St. Therese of Lisieux (again)
Though she never left her convent, St. Therese is also a patron saint of missionaries because of her commitment to praying for the missions.
Saints for Social Justice
St. Oscar Romero
Killed while celebrating Mass, St. Oscar Romero is known for his advocacy for the poor and marginalized.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
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She founded the first Catholic girls’ school in the United States and is the patron saint of Catholic schools.
St. Katharine Drexel
Using her inheritance to fund schools for Native Americans and African Americans, she is a patron for racial justice.
Special Mention: The Virgin Mary
While not a “saint” in the usual sense, the Virgin Mary holds a special place in the Communion of Saints. She is the Mother of God and our mother. As Jesus said from the cross, “Woman, behold, your son!” and to John, “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26-27), so she becomes our mother as well.
As Catholics, we are blessed with a rich tradition of saints who intercede for us. It’s not about idolizing them but recognizing that we are part of a larger family — the Body of Christ. Each saint has their own particular charisma and lesson to teach us. By invoking their intercession, we are more firmly rooted in our own journey towards holiness.
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Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.