When we are confirmed in the Catholic faith, it is common to choose a patron saint. Ideally, we choose a saint we admire, someone who possesses the type of virtue we want to spend our lives cultivating. Perhaps this saint has similar interests or has experienced similar life events. Maybe they are strong in an area we feel weak. Traditionally, we even take this saint’s name as our own. This saint, in return, is charged with praying for us in a particular way throughout our life.
Choosing a patron saint for your family works the same way. Having a patron saint for our families can create a family bond, provide a special intercessor when trials arrive, and illustrate a masterpiece of faith and love to admire and emulate throughout our lives together.
How to Find a Patron Saint for Your Family
You’re ready to find a patron saint for your family, but there are so many to choose from! While this is a good problem for the Church at large, it can be difficult to narrow your options to a saint who will really resonate with your entire family. I suggest following these steps to find your patron saint.
1. Ask the Lord
The first step is probably the most obvious: pray about it. Ask Jesus if there is a certain saint He has in mind for your family. Whose intercession would be most beneficial? Whose example would be the most influential? Take this petition to Mass, to adoration, to your rosary, to your prayer time as a family. Be patient with the Lord and explore His promptings toward certain saints.
2. Look at Your Individual Patrons
Another way to select a patron saint for your family is by noting your family members’ patron saints. Is anyone named after a saint? Who are the confirmation saints in the family? Perhaps there is a running theme or a certain saint that strikes everyone.
3. Observe Your Family’s Experience, Devotions, and Interests
Perhaps your patron saint will find you via your family’s individual life events and enjoyments. Has your family been through a trial during which you relied heavily on a certain saint’s intercession? Maybe your struggle with fertility, unemployment, lack of community, illness, or moving will bring forth your patron saint. Does your family have a shared devotion? Your love for the Liturgy of the Hours, the Sacred Heart, or Divine Mercy may lead you to your patron. Does your family share a hobby? Activities like sports, education, travel, reading, and cooking have been enjoyed by saints for centuries. Look to your family’s shared human experience and you will find several saints there waiting for you.
4. Pray a Novena
Once you have an idea of who your patron saint might be, pray a novena to that saint as a family. Read about the saint’s life and explore their virtues together as a family. This will help solidify your confidence in that particular saint’s patronage while immersing your family in their life, stories, miracles, and legacy.
5. Let Chance Decide
But what happens if you still can’t decide on a patron saint? If there is a divide in the family over who should be your patron, if there are pillow fights occurring and a stalemate encountered, you have a couple of options:
1. If you’ve narrowed it down to a few saints, but just need help with the final decision, write their names on separate pieces of paper, say a prayer for guidance, and draw from a hat.
2. Use a tool like the Saint’s Name Generator to randomly select your family’s patron saint. Say a little prayer together beforehand to be open to whomever you select. You can also do this at the beginning of each year to select a saint for your family to learn about and imitate during that year.
Ultimately, you can’t go wrong! So don’t stress if you’re not able to agree and don’t worry about selecting “the perfect saint.” All the saints are perfect for your family because the saints’ intercession is perfect. This should be fun and valuable for your family, so enjoy the process and relish your family’s patron!
Who is your family’s patron saint? Let us know at facebook.com/dioceseofalexandria, and encourage your friends to get a patron saint for their families as well.
[By Olivia Spears]