Most of us probably only know the patron saints of our own countries but did you know that professions, societies, organizations and societal groups can adopt patron saints as their heavenly advocates too? Patron saints are adopted by all sorts. Let’s take look at a few.
1. St Julian – Carnival Workers
To kick off this list of unusual patron saints is St Julian who, for absolutely no reason I can logically fathom, is the patron saint of carnival workers. After murdering his own parents by accident (he mistook them for his wife and her adulterous lover), he devoted his life to God and founded various hospitals and helped the needy. We are still none the wiser about the connection to carnival workers, though.
2. St Monica – Alcoholics
St Monica was the mother of St Augustine of Hippo, one of the most famous men in the world. She, her husband – who only converted to Christianity on his death bed after a lifetime of her nagging him – and her son were all fond of wine, which is perhaps why she is now the patron saint of alcoholics.
3. St Vitus – Oversleeping
If I had to be one of these unusual patron saints, I would probably be St Vitus – after all, what better excuse to oversleep on the weekends? He lived a tough life, and was tortured after attempting to coax a demon out of the son of a Roman Emperor. He was thrown into a vat of boiling hot oil as a punishment. A rooster was thrown in alongside him, and it is believed that is why he is the patron saint of oversleeping.
4. St Jude Thaddeus – Lost Causes
Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus, but lived by many names: Thaddeus, Jude, Jude of James, Judas (not THAT Judas) or Lebbaeus. Little is known about him, other than his name has been largely forgotten and his work overshadowed by the other Apostles – although not always for very good reasons. That is why he has become known as our patron saint of lost causes, or failed hopes.
5. St Ambrose – Beekeepers
The legend goes that as a child St Ambrose had a swarm of bees land on his face. The bees flew away, leaving behind one drop of pure honey. The story seems to have been passed down generations, and – unlike the bees – the name stuck to St Ambrose, who became the patron saint of beekeepers. At least this strange patron saint has a good story behind it!
6. St Bibiana – Hangovers
Perhaps my favorite unusual patron saint is St Bibiana, and her hangovers. The reason might not be the same as you think, however: Bibiana was forced to convert to Paganism after the Roman Emperor Julian killed her family. She was eventually brutally murdered and left to be eaten by wild animals, but on her grave grew plants which were associated with treating hangovers. It is unlikely she ever partook in alcohol herself, which makes this story all the more sad.
7. St. Isidore of Seville – Internet
St. Isidore, Archbishop of Seville was recognized as one of the most learned and scholarly men of his time (6th century). He was canonized for his work and religious devotion rather than for any nasty event or remarkably horrid death. He is long-time recognized as the patron saint of schoolchildren and it was a natural progression that he became the patron saint of computer users and the internet.
Once you start digging around you come to find that there seems to be a patron saint for practically anything – like St. Sebastian for hardware stores and St. Barbara who is the patron saint of things that go boom! What patron saints are there in your life?