Feast day: March 19
Patron of the Universal Church, carpenters, cabinet builders, doubters, happy death, homeless, and, in Mexico, he was a model of Franciscan poverty, patron of travelers, Militant Church and of the evangelization of the Americas; model husband, benevolent father and safe refuge in times of spiritual and physical danger. Joseph, the husband of Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Jesus, was a carpenter, descended from King Davids family. Among his many attributes are the different instruments of his profession as a carpenter, a lily for purity and a budded staff for his selection as the future husband of Virgin Mary. St. Joseph is depicted holding the Christ Child in his arms while standing against a neutral background or surrounded by curtains. Christ the Child is often dressed in red, or represented naked, holding a small cross in one hand symbolizing his destiny. St. Joseph, with or without a crown upon his head, is usually dressed in a green gown with a yellow cape over his shoulders.
Saint Antony of Padua (Doctor)
Feast day: June 13
Patron of lost articles and horses, unmarried women seeking husbands, and the poor.
St. Anthony of Padua, the major Portuguese saint, is the most popular Franciscan in the world after St. Francis of Assisi. Cortés requested the king give to the Franciscan Order the mission of the evangelization in the New World. The first Franciscans who arrived in Mexico in 1523 followed the model of St. Anthonys life and his desire to convert souls to the love of God.
St. Anthony is frequently portrayed wearing the Franciscan brown or dark grey habit with the rope of the Order. He stands holding a book with the Jesus Child seated on top of it embracing the saints neck. Other attributes include the flowered Cross and lilies as the symbol for virtue and chastity.
Saint Benedict of Palermo
Feast day: April 3
Patron of the cooks, of African slaves in the Americas, and also invoked against smallpox.
Benedict, also known as The Holy Black, born in a village in Sicily, was believed to have supernatural guidance in directing the offices for which he was appointed. According to tradition, the saint had adipose skin which was the reason for his invocation against smallpox.
Attributes include dark skin, the blue Franciscan habit, the crucifix, lily, agricultural implements, and an exposed heart showing seven drops of blood which symbolizes the Seven Virtues.
Saint Christopher, the Roman Martyr
One of two Roman centurions whose mummified remains are displayed in glass sarcophagi in the cathedral at Michoacán, Mexico. This martyr was involved with saving Christians during the time of the Holy Roman Empire.
Saint Camillus of Lellis
Feast day: July 14
Patron of the doctors, of the sick, of hospitals, nurses, and nursing. Popularly, he is the patron saint of gamblers and also invoked for happy death.
An Italian who lost everything he owned gambling, and was converted to Christianity while working in a monastery. He dedicated his life to the well-being of the sick and of the dying, offering spiritual and physical assistance. He founded the lay brotherhood Order of the Servants and of the Sick in 1591, establishing fifteen more houses for the brotherhood and eight hospitals which pioneered in the field of health care with a number of physical and spiritual innovations.
Camillus is represented as a tall man, wearing the black habit of the Servants of the Sick with a red cross on the right breast, or ministering to a dying man surrounded by devils who want to take his soul.
Saint Francis of Paola
Feast day: April 2
Patron of naval officers, navigators, maritime pilots and those associated with the sea. Invoked for protection against flames, childlessness, and shipwreck.
He founded the Order of the Minim Friars, namely because St. Francis of Paola wanted to be the least in the household of God. St. Anthony is known for his miracles and goodness. Usually represented as an elder with white hair, hidden by a wide hood, and long beard and dressed in the dark brown habit of the congregation. He wears sandals and holds in the right hand the rosary and the shepherds staff with curved end in the left hand. The most common and easily identified symbol is the word Caritas or Caridad or Humilitas surrounded by flames often present on his breast or on the upper corner. Other attributes show him in an arid environment holding a crucifix or beside an kiln with a lamb coming out alive from the flames representing one of his alleged miracles.
Saint Isidore, the Laborer
Feast day: May 15
Patron of farmers. Invoked for good weather and harvest. He is also the patron saint of Madrid and the National Rural Conference in the United States (as per 1947).
This Spanish saint from Castile is often represented wearing the typical Castilian laborer cloth (jacketed with knee-high pants). He is portrait standing in a landscape with a church in the background depicting the moment a miracle took place. Isidores fellow workers complained to the farmers of his being late every morning for work because he went to mass. At that moment, a team of oxen being driven by an angel was working along the land. Attributes include a farmers broad-brimmed hat, a bag and a gourd for water. Other attributes include a stream that emerged from the ground after Isidore struck the earth with his ox-goat to satisfy his masters thirst, birds flying in the skies, attesting to the saints love for animals, and the miracle of having a full sack of corn after he fed a large number of birds. The morning skies show clouds on the upper corners alluding to the saints intercession for rain.
Saint Jerome (Doctor)
Feast day: September 30
Patron of book editors, translators, book sellers, and librarians.
One of the four doctors of the Latin Church born in Dalmatia. He translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Latin, recognized by the Council of Trent as the authorized Latin Bible for the Catholic Church. Attributes include St. Jerome as an old man, with a few white hairs on his head and a beard, partially covered by the red mantle of cardinals. He usually holds a crucifix and the symbols of penitence a skull or a stone which he beat against his breast in penance. Besides him is always a lion he had cured from an injury. Other symbols associated with his life are books which lay beside him, and a trumpet, with or without the angel, announcing the final judgement. Sometimes, an owl is perched nearby, an attribute of solitude and wisdom.
Saint Vincent Ferrer
Feast day: April 5
Patron saint of builders and stonemasons. In Mexico, he is invoked to alleviate headaches.
St. Vincent Ferrer of Valencia entered the Dominican priory of Valencia and became known as the preacher on sin, death, hell, eternity, and especially on the coming of the Last Judgement, converting a number of Jews and non-believers to Christianity. Some of his attributes include the black-and-white Dominican habit, a crucifix or an open book, the pointing of his index finger upwards towards heaven, and a dark pair of wings springing from his back. Sometimes he is floating over a blue sky surrounded by white clouds. The book he holds in his hand is the Book of Revelations, due to the fact that he proclaimed himself to be the Angel of Judgement while preaching to a large crowd in Salamanca.
Saint Raymond Nonnatus
Feast day: August 31
Patron of midwives, pregnant women, unborn children, and women in labor. In Mexico, he is invoked for silence and protection against curses.
He was called non natus, not born, because he was taken out of his mothers womb after she died in labor. He voluntary offered himself as a slave to save others and while in captivity, he gave comfort to other Christians in captive and hoped to convert his captors to Christianity. To punish and to stop St. Raymond from preaching, his lips were pierced with a red-hot iron and his mouth closed with a padlock. Attributes include the Mercedarian habit or the cardinals vest, the palm of the martyrs, even thought he did not die in martyrdom. The palm has three crowns for chastity, eloquence and martyrdom, and, sometimes, he is shown receiving the fourth one of thorns from an angel. Other attributes include the area around his mouth worn away due to the constant practice of rubbing it to protect one from gossip, curses and from constant talking.
Saint Peter of Alcántara
Feast day: October 19
Patron saint of night watchmen
St. Peter, a Spanish Franciscan known for his constant state of penitence, mysticism, walking barefoot, slept sitting up with his head leaning against the wall, and living a life of seclusion. A tall, skinny young man holding a crucifix and a skull, symbols for penance. One of his miracles includes his walking over water and being inspired by the Holy Spirit in his prophecies. Attributes include him kneeling down with his arms stretched out in prayer with clouds around him and two angels at his feet holding the palm of martyr.
The Archangels: Saint Michael and Saint Raphael
Feast day: September 29 (St. Michael); October 24 (St. Raphael)
The angels are spiritual beings, messengers of God, who have power of communication between God and human beings. There is a hierarchical celestial army commanded by seven archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Baracael, Ieadiel, Sealtiel, Peliel, Gamael and Raguel. St. Michael, meaning like unto God, is known as the prince and Captain-General of the host of heaven, the one victorious over the other rebel angels at the beginning of time and the protector of the Jewish Nation. He is usually represented with a sword or lance and the scale to weigh the souls to enter into the reign of God. He is also associated with a trumpet since he will sound the last trumpet at the general resurrection.
The chief of the guardian angels was St. Raphael, meaning theMedicine of God. He is usually shown as the mentor and companion of the young Tobias, who went on a business trip to help his blind father, Tobit. He is usually depicted wearingpilgrims clothing, holding a staff with a gourd of water and a fish, from which he made an ointment to restore his fathers sight.
St. Michael: Patron of grocers, mariners, paratroopers, police, and sickness. Invoked in times of temptation and at the moment of death.
St. Raphael: Patron of travelers, blind, of happy meetings, of nurses, and of physicians. Invoked in illness, mainly those related to sight.
Feast day: August 18 in the West and May 21 on the East
Patroness: soldiers, the poor and those condemned to the mines, freeing many from oppression, chains, and banishment.
St. Helen went to Palestine to direct excavations in search of the True Cross in Mount Calvary. She had visions of three crosses and was able to identify the True Cross in a rock cistern near Mount Calvary when a severely ill man was miraculously cured after touching its wood. She found the cross and the three nails of Passion used in Christs crucifixion. Her major attributes are the Holy Cross, the nails of the crucifixion, and sometimes the crown of thorns and an architectural model representing the churches she constructed. She wears the empresss golden scepter, the royal crown upon her head and the empress clothing and robe.
Saint Wilgefortis, Virgin and Martyr
Feast day: July 20
Patroness of laundresses and invoked during moments of distress and headaches.
Saint Wilgefortis is the Latin word for Strong Virgin. Her name is also associated with deliverance and liberation. She is said to have been the daughter of a pagan king from a Portuguese territory. Her father ordered her to marry but she had made a vow of virginity and prayed to God to liberate her from this destiny. Her prayers were answered and a thick beard grew upon her face, making her undesirable. Her angry father accused her of witchcraft and had her crucified. Attributes include her as a young beautiful woman, with or without beard, wearing a long dress and a cape with her arms stretched on a cross, crucified with nails or tied to the cross or even without the cross with her arms stretched in a cross-shape. She usually wears a long tunic and has a crown of roses on her head. In most representations she is beardless.