All around us, saints are being observed, and Australia has its very own patron saint.
During the construction of the Clem7 tunnel and Legacy Way in Brisbane, the statue of a saint—Saint Barbara, was placed in pride of place with a special ceremony.
In her day, Saint Barbara was cloistered in a tower by her father for not wanting to marry the man he selected, during which she converted to Christianity. Later her father decapitated her only to be struck by lightning. Because of his punishment, Barbara became the patron of everything that explodes—and thus the protector of miners, tunnellers, builders, firefighters, artillerymen and more.
In this day and age, one might find it odd that saints are observed so openly in business and life practices. But saints are all around us, chosen as special protectors or guardians over all areas of life and have been since as early as the fourth century.
I’m sure Saint Francis de Salle is watching over me as I type; Saint Francis (born 1567) is the patron saint of journalists and writers. He wrote out his sermons, copied them by hand, and slipped them under the doors. This is the first record of religious tracts being used to communicate with people.
Look in your newspaper public notices column now and you are likely to find an advertisement reading “Thanks to St. Jude for prayers answered” or similar. They appear regularly. St. Jude Thaddeus is one of the most popular patrons of impossible causes, largely because his scriptural letter urges Christians to persevere in difficult times.
If you are intending to travel, then look no further than St. Christopher. It is said that St. Christopher, while crossing a river, helped a child by carrying him on his shoulders. He found the child to be unbelievably heavy— legend says the child was Christ carrying the weight of the whole world. Thus, Christopher became the patron saint of travellers.
St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals. Known as a man who loved all God’s creatures, he celebrated Christmas by setting up the first known nativity so that the worshipers could contemplate the birth of Jesus. It is customary for churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of 4 October.
Even Australia has its own patron saints, two now in fact and as we are celebrating Australia Day, what better time to acknowledge them. Since 1844, Our Lady Help of Christians has been a patron of Australia and now the second patron, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop looks over us.
Do your research if you are looking for a saint for your special cause or dream, you are bound to find one.
Which saint do you most ask for help?