Saints for every month of the year - a modern calendar

The Roman Catholic calendar of saints is long and confusing: there are saints assigned to most days, some days have multiple saints, and many saints are unknown outside of their own area or language group.  On the other hand, most lists of famous saints are short, don't list the very recent saints, and don't include any saints  for some months of the year.

This list includes:
  • At least some saints for each month of the year
  • Some not-so-famous saints who are recently canonised or particularly relevant in English-speaking countries, as well as the spiritual super-stars.
  • Brief historical information about each saint, and links to hymns for the saint's feast day where available.

This list is useful for teachers and others who might want to choose a "saint of the month", and for  liturgists who are looking for brief information about the more modern English-speaking saints.




Is there a saint who you think should be included?   Leave a message in the Comments section at the bottom of the page, giving a little information about them.


January

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - 4 January

Patron saint of in-law troubles and loss of children.

Elizabeth Ann Seton was an American woman who was raised in New York City. Her father in-law died four years after her marriage, and then the business which her husband inherited failed. Her husband became sick, so they went to Italy, where he died. Then Elizabeth Ann became a Catholic and discovered a particular devotion to the Virgin Mary. She returned to America, and set up the first Catholic school there. In 1809 she took a vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  She is the first saint who was born in America.

St. Sebastian - 20 January

Patron of archers, athletes and soldiers.

A soldier in the Roman army, Sebastian converted many people to Christianity, and he he is known for curing a deaf mute.  He is the patron saint of athletes because of his physical endurance and energetic defence of the faith.

St. Thomas Aquinas - 28 January

Patron saint of academics, schools, and universities, and students.

Tommaso d'Aquino was an Italian who lived from 1225-1274. He was a Dominican friar, and an influential philosopher and theologian. Today he is regarded as one of the Doctor's of the church. He wrote many books, and the Latin text of many famous hymns including the Pange Lingua.


February

St. Brigid of Kildare - 1 February

Patron saint of Ireland, babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; brewers; cattle; chicken/poultry farmers; children whose parents are not married or are abusive; dairy workers; fugitives; midwives; nuns; poets; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers

Brigid, also known as Muire na nGael (Mary of the Irish) lived from approx 451 to 525 AD. She is is thought of as Ireland's first nun, and founded several monasteries. She is rememmbered as generous and compassionate, and a peace-maker: There are many legends about her care for people and the earth.

Hymns for the feast of St Brigid

St. Agatha - 5 Feb

Patron saint of breast cancer sufferers.

Agatha was imprisoned and tortured for her faith, and during the torture, her breasts were amputated.


March

St. Patrick, "the Apostle of Ireland" - 17 March

Patron saint of Ireland, Nigeria, engineers and paralegals - and regularly invoked against snakes.

When Patrick he was about 16, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain, and to Ireland as a slave. There he had to look after animals. After six years he escaped and returned to his family. Later he became a priest and returned to Ireland, where he is credited with re-introducing the Christian faith. He was eventually ordained bishop, and by the seventh century, he had was revered as the patron saint of Ireland. There are many legends associated with his life, eg driving all the saints from Ireland, lighting a fire on the hill of Tara.

Hymn suggestions for the feast of St Patrick.


St. Joseph, husband of Mary - 19 March

Patron saint of the Universal Church, workers, fathers, a happy death

Joseph has two feasts: 19 March (Husband of Mary) and 1 May (St Joseph the worker).
A descendent of King David and a man of deep faith, he worked as a carpenter and received messages from God in dreams about how to behave towards Mary when she became pregnant with the son of God.

Hymn suggestions for the feast of St Joseph husband of Mary.


April

St. Bernadette - 16 April

Patron saint of bodily ills and orphans.

Suffered from ill health as a child and young woman, including asthma and digestive problems. She received sacrament of the sick at least three times.  When she was a child, she had a vision of the Virgin Mary. At Lourdes in France, Mary told her to dig in the mud, and a spring appeared in which many people were healed.

St. Mark the Evangelist - 25 April

Patron of attorneys, prisoners, notaries and a Martyr

Mark was a disciple, and tradition has it that he was at the wedding in Cana when Jesus miraculously turned water into wine.  He accompanied Paul and Barnabus on their missionary journey and he wrote the gospel that carries his name today. It is believed that he was martyred in 68AD by being dragged through the street.  His symbol is the lion, because his Gospel starts with John the Baptist proclaiming "Make ready the way of the Lord".

St. Catherine of Siena - 29 April


St. Cecelia - 29 April

Patron saint of musicians - because she heard music in her heart on her wedding day.

Cecelia's husband converted to Christianity after he saw an angel praying at her side. A martyr for her faith.


May

St. Joseph the Worker - 1 May

See notes under St Joseph, husband of Mary in March.

St. Peregrine Laziosi - 1 May

Patron of cancer victims

From a wealthy family in Italy, Peregrine was born in 1260. He was a visionary and saw the Virgin Mary, who told him to join the Servite order, who observe silence and solitude. Later in his life, doctors wanted to amputate a tumor on his leg, but he spent the night before the operation praying and the next morning it was found that the tumor was gone and he was cured.

St. Rita - 22 May

Patron saint of impossible cases.

As a young woman, Rita wanted to enter a convent, but instead a marriage was arranged, to a man who became violent and abusive. After twenty years her husband was murdered, and her two sons also died, leaving her free to join an Augustinian convent. After praying, "Please let me suffer like you Divine Savior.", she was wounded by a thorn on her forehead, which would not heal and caused her to suffer until her death.

St. Joan of Arc - 30 May

Patron saint of soldiers and France.

As a girl, Joan heard messages from saints Michael, Catherine and Margaret telling her to go to the King of France and help him win back his kingdom. The king listened, and assigned a small arms to her, which she lead successfully by pretending to be male. However later she was captured and then sold to the English. Then she was burned at the stake.


June

St. Justin Martyr - 1 June

Patron of philosophers, Father of the Church and martyr

Just was a Gentile from Italy. After converting to Christianity he defended the faith in Rome and then Asia Minor. He was martyred after a another philosophy student complained about this. He wrote two documents explaining the faith, which became known as "Apologies". The first is one of the earliest recorded documents teaching meaning of the Eucharist.

St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs of Uganda (1886) - 3 June

King Mwanga of the Baganda in Uganda believed that Christian missionarys, were the advance guard of European powers who wanted to encroach upon his country. And he was not happy that they commented on his sexual behaviour. In May 1886, he asked the Christians among his pages to identify themselves, and 15 did, including Charles Lwanga (24) who was a catechist. He gave them a chance to renounce their faith, and when they did not, he ordered that they were to be burned to death. Their deaths, and others subsequent weeks, resulted in many conversions. The quote “Poor, foolish man . . . you are burning me, but it is as if you were pouring water on my body.” is attributed to Lwanga.

St Columba / Colmcille - 9 June

Columba was an Irish monk, who was exiled (with some friends) to Iona in Scotland after copying a book without permission.

St. Anthony of Padua - 13 June

Patron saint of lost items and missing persons, and Doctor of the Church

Portuguese. He originally joined the Augustinian Order, then later the Franciscans. Known as "The hammer of the Heretics", he had visions of the Infant child Jesus.

St. John the Baptist - 24 June


Hymn suggestions for the feast of St. John the Baptist.

St. Paul


St. Peter - 29 June

Patron saint of fishermen, apostle and martyr
Peter, originally called Simon, was Andrew's brother. Both brothers were fishermen. Andrew was called to follow Christ first, and then Simon was also called and renamed "Peter", meaning "rock". Jesus said: "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

In the New Testament, Peter is always listed as the first of the Apostles, and he was present at the transfiguration, the raising of Jairus' daughter and the Agony in the Garden - along with James and John. After the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter and told him, three times, to "feed my sheep". Following this, Peter appointed Judas' replacement and preaches widely, including to the Gentiles.

Hymn suggestions for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.


July

St. Thomas the Apostle - 3 July

Patron saint of architects, apostle and martyr.

 Born a Jew, Jesus called Thomas as one of the twelve disciples. He is remembered for not believing that Jesus had risen from the dead, saying "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in his side I will not believe." which earnt him the title "Doubting Thomas".  After Pentecost, Thomas was sent to evangelize the Parthians, Medes, Persians, and India.

St. Maria Goretti - 6 July

Patron saint of rape victims, youth and purity.

Maria was born in Italy to a farming family. When she was 12, an neighboring boy of 18 tried to rape her. She resisted, he stabbed her, but before she died she forgave him even though he was unrepentant. Later, she appeared to him in a dream, giving him flowers. This experience changed his attitude, and he later attended her canonization in St. Peter's Square.


St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini) - 7 July

Patron saint of immigrants and hospital administrators.

Francesca Saverio Cabrini (1850 – 1917) was born to Italian parents in the Lombard Province of Lodi, which was then part of the Austrian Empire. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, after being refused entry to the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. She asked the Pope for permission to set up a mission in China - but he sent her to the USA instead, to serve Italian immigrants there. She founded many health and educational institutions, and "Mother Cabrini’s prayer for humility" became widely known.

In 1909 she was naturalized as a United States citizen. She was canonized (made a saint) in 1946 - making her the she was the first American saint.


St. Veronica - 12 July

Patron saint of photographers.

When Jesus carried the cross, she used her veil to wipe his face clean, and and she later discovered the imprint of Christ's face on it.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha - 14 July

Patron saint of the environment, first Native American saint.

Kateri was born in 1656. Her father was a a Mohawk warrior and her Catholic a member of the Alqonquin. She was baptised by a Jesuit missionary.  When she was four, brother and mother and brother died of smallpox, and she was scarred by the disease. But within 15 minutes of her dying, her face was healed. There were many reports of her appearing to people, carrying a a cross.

St. Mary Magdalene - 21 July

Patron saint of penitent women.

Jesus cast out seven demons from her. She anointed Christ with her tears and dried His feet with her hair. Mary Magdalene was present at the crucifixion of Jesus, and discovered His body was missing from the tomb. She was the first person to whom Christ appeared to after His Resurrection.

St. Anne - 25 July

Patron saint of mothers and grandmothers.

Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and thus Jesus grandmother, Anne was married to St. Joachim. Tradition says that they pious and also rich.

St. James the Apostle (St James the Great) - 25 July

Patron of Spain, Portugal, and various other Spanish-speaking locations, and of veterinarians, and horse-riding.

James, son of Zebedee, was one Jesus Twelve Apostles, and one of the first disciples. He was with Jesus at the Transfiguration. After Jesus death, he preached the Gospel in the Roman province of Hispania (modern-day Spain). King Herod had him James executed - and his is the only martyrdom recorded in the New Testament. After he died, he was buried in Spain Over time, his tomb was lost. In the 9th century, its location of the tomb was revealed to the hermit Pelayo, according to legend by the stars and the sound of choirs of angels singing. From this, the location got the name Compostela – and James' relics became a pilgrimage site: today known as the The Camino (ie The Way) de Compostela.

St. Martha 29 July

Patron saint of housewives, domestic workers and cooks.

Martha lived in Bethany with her sister Mary during Jesus life. She was a follower, and is remembered for the story in Luke 10:38-42 about Jesus being a guest in their home.

St Ignatius of Loyola - 31 July

Patron saint of soldiers, spiritual retreats, educators and education. Patron and founder of the Jesuits (SJ, Society of Jesus)

Born in Spain, Ignatius was a Basque knight, who had a spiritual conversion after he was injured. He then abandoned the life of a solider and devoted himself to working for God. After a visionary expereince, he prayed for many hours each day and began working on the Spiritual Exercises. He later studied theology in Paris, where he and a few followers took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience - they later became the Society of Jesus,


August

St John Vianney, the Curé d'Ars - 4 August

Patron saint of pastors; confessors

Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney (1786–1859) grew up during the French revolution - priests became his heros, due to their spiritual work even when this was forbidden. He had very little formal education, and so struggled when he eventually started to train as a priest, and failed many of his exams. Despite this he was eventually ordained any due to his personal holiness, and eventually he became a parish priest. He became internationally known notable for his work, especially for hearing confessions for many hours each day, and this had a the radical effect on the spiritually-starved post-revolution community.

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop - 8 August

Australia's first indigenous saint, and 2nd patron saint

Born into a poor family in Melbourne, Mary established a religious order especially to serve poor people living in remote areas.

St. Dominic - 8 August

Patron saint of astronomers.

Spanish born, Dominic was a priest who preached against the Albigensianism heresy and helped to reform the Cistercian order. He founded the Order of Preachers, who were were traveling preachers and practised a life of penance and prayer. He was particularly responsible for spreading the practise of praying the Rosary.

St. Edith Stein, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross - 9 August

Patron saint of loss of parents and converts.

Originally Jewish, Edith was baptised as a Catholic in 1922. During World War II, she and her sister were sent to Auschwitz, and died in the gas chambers in 1942. She is considered a martyr.

St. Clare of Assisi (Chiara Offreduccio) - 11 August

Patron saint of eye disease and communications.

Clare was the first of the "Poor Clares" - women who committed to a monastic life of prayer and service to the sick, inspired by St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal - 12 August

Patron saint of forgotten people and widows.

A French woman, born in 1572. She married when she was 20, and had four children before her husband was killed in a hunting accident. Later, Jane founded the Visitation Order and worked as a spiritual director.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux - 20 August

Patron saint of mountaineers, The Alps, and Doctor of the Church

Born in Burgundy, France, Bernard entered the Cistercian Order after his mother died. Founder and first abbot of the Abbey of Clairvaux. Well-known for fighting against heresies, he took part in the Second Council of the Lateran. He encouraged scriptural contemplation, in particular the Lectio Divina method.

St. Augustine of Hippo - 28 August

Patron of Brewers, and Father of the Church

St. Augustine for some time lived a life of immorality, drinking and partying - and as a result he is the patron saint of brewers. He converted to Christianity after reading in scripture "put away all impurity and live in imitation of Jesus." Baptized by St. Ambrose, he was later a priest and eventually, the Bishop of Hippo. He wrote the poem "Too late have I loved You."

St. Monica - 29 August

Patron saint of mothers, alcoholism and troubled marriages.

Born in Africa in 331, she married an abusive alcoholic pagan, with whom she had three children, one of whom was St. Augustine


September

St. Gregory the Great - 3 September

Patron saint of students, teachers, musicians, and Doctor of the Church

Gregory was a Benedictine monk, known for liturgical reform: Gregorian chant is named to him. As a monk, he founded six monasteries and re-vitalised the church's missionary work. He was elected as pope when he was 50.

St Teresa of Calcutta - 5 September

Patron saint of World Youth Day, the poorest of the poor, and the dying.

Initially Teresa joined the Loretto sisters, and became Sister Mary Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. In 1946, she heard Jesus say "Come be My light" and left to the Lorettos to start the Missionaries of Charity a new order which served the sick and dying on the streets of Calcutta, India.

St. Matthew 21 September

Patron saint of bankers and accountants, apostle and martyr

Matthew, also known as Levi, was a tax collector who Jesus called him to follow him. The Gospel of Matthew is attributd to him, and this is written in Aramaic, which was the Hebrew language. This gospel includes more parables than the others, and the Beatitudes. Tradition says that Matthew preached in Ethiopia.

St. Vincent de Paul - 27 September

Patron saint of charitable societies

Educated by Franciscans in France, Vincent de Paul was ordained a priest in 1600. He was captured by pirates while he was at sea, and imprisoned for two years. He founded the Sisters of Charity, who served the poor through spiritual and corporal works of mercy, the Vincentians who served the poor in small towns and villages.

St. Michael the Archangel - 29 September

Archangel, Patron of police, paratroopers, mariners, sickness

Michael, whose name means "Who is like God", is leads the "good angels". In Revelations, he the leader during the final battle between good and evil. "St Michael defend me in battle" is a popular prayer.

St. Jerome - 30 September

Patron of librarians, students, and orphans, and a Doctor of the Church

He was a priest, theologian and historian, and the most educated of the Church Fathers. To obtain a religious library, he copied St. Hilary's books, and he translated the Bible from Hebrew into Latin (the Vulgate) and wrote many scriptural commentaries.


October

St. Thérèse of Lisiuex - 1 October

Patron saint of missions.

Thérèse is known as the "Little Flower" because she said, "The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word and the doing of the least action for love." Her spirituality is known as "The little way", and she wrote "The Story of a Soul", which focussed on finding holiness in small sacrifices.

Hymns for the feast of Thérèse of Lisiuex


St. Francis of Assisi - 4 October

Patron saint of animals, the environment, Italy

Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone nicknamed Francesco and eventually known as Francis, lived from 1181/1182–1226. His father was a silk merchant, and lived firstly as a typical wealthy young man. He served as a soldier and had a vision that sent him back to Assisi to live a life centred on God. Later experiences moved him to live in poverty. He began preaching on the streets, and gathered followers who he formed into a religious Order. Later he founded several other convents and monasteries. Later in life, he travelled to Egypt, trying convert the Sultan to end the Crusades. Francis is the first person recorded as received the stigmata, ie the wounds of Christ's Passion. He is also known for his love of the Eucharist, his sorrow during the Stations of the Cross, and for creating the first Christmas nativity scene.

Hymn suggestions for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi


Saint Faustina - 5 October

Patron saint of Divine Mercy.

Faustina was Polish, born in 1905. She received a message from God to spread the message of his mercy to the world, and wrote a diary about this which has been published.

St John Paul II - 9 October

Patrol saint of World Youth Day, young Catholics and family life

Karol Józef Wojtyla was born in Poland in 1920, and eventually he became the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Pope Adrian VI (1522 to 1523). He helped to end Communist rule in Poland and eventually all of Europe, and improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. As Pope John Paul II travelled widely, and had a special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, beatify 1,340 people and canonising 483 saints - more than all of other popes in the last 500 years added together.

St John XXIII (Twenty-third) - 11 October

Patron saint of Papal delegates, the Second Vatican Council and Christian unity

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born in 1881 in Italy. He was ordained a priest, and became a diplomat. In this role, he made various efforts during World War II to save refugees, who were mostly Jewish, from the Nazi Holocaust. When he became Pope, it was assumed (because he was quite old) that he would only be a short-term or "stop-gap" pope, and would not do very much. However he surprised people, and called together the Second Vatican Council, from which came changes that reshaped the face of Catholicism: a comprehensively revised liturgy, emphasis on ecumenism, and a new approach to the world. He wrote a diary of spiritual reflections which was published as "Journal of a Soul", It tells of his goals and work as a young man to "grow in holiness" and continues until after he was elected as pope.

St. Teresa of Avila - 15 October

Patron saint of headache sufferers.

Teresa was placed her in a convent to protect her from the world after her mother died. She struggled to balance her love of God with her need for friends and fun. She eventually joined the Carmelite Order. She was a mystic and a poet and an author, and is now called a Doctor of the Church.

St. Margaret Mary - 17 October

Patron saint of polio victims.

Margaret Mary was born in France in 1647. She had rheumatic fever when she was a child, and was confined to bed for five years. As an adult, she refused to marry, and entered a convent instead. As well as being devoted to the Eucharist, she had vision in which Christ told her to promote devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

St. Luke - 18 October

Patron of physicians and surgeons, author of the Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles

A Greek-speaking Gentile, born at Antioch in Spain, Luke followed Paul to Macedonia after Jesus' resurrection. When Paul was imprisoned, St. Luke stayed with him. He was referred to as a physician by Sts. Paul, Jerome and Irenaeus, and the gospel he wrote focuses on God's mercy.

St. Jude Thaddaeus - 28 October

Patron of desperate causes, apostle and martyr

St. Jude was one of the apostles, and brother of St. James the Less. He is not the same Judas who betrayed Jesus. He wrote an epistle in the Bible, stressing the need to persevere during difficulties and is considered the patron of desperate causes. Tradition says he was martyred with Simon the Zealot in Beirut, by being executed with an ax.


November

St. Elizabeth of Hungary - 17 November

Patron saint of widows, the homeless and young brides.

Elizabeth was the daughter of the King of Hungary. At 14 years, she was married to Louis of Thuring, who was killed in the Crusades when Elizabeth was 20. Rejected by her in-laws, she adopted a life of serving the sick and the poor. She joined the Secular Franciscan Order and one of her works was to found a hospital. She died when she was 23 years old.

Saint Columban / St Colmbanus - Missionary - 23 November

Columbanus was born around 543 in the provice of Leinster in Ireland. He entered the monastery in Bangor, County Down and became a monk. In 591, he and 12 friends when on a pilgrimage to Burgundy in France, and then established monasteries in Annegray, Luxeuil and Fontaine. He also worked in Austria, and a foundation at Bobbio, near Genoa. He is famous for preachimg the gospel and establishing monasteries in Europe.

St. Catherine Leboure' - 28 November

Patron saint of the Miraculous Medal.

The Virgin Mary appeared to Catherine three times, telling her to have a particular medal made. Once this was done, many miracles were attributed to it, and so it became known as "The Miraculous Medal".

St. Andrew the Apostle - 30 November

Patron of fishermen, apostle and martyr

A fishermen, like his brother Simon Peter, Andrew was he first apostle to be called by Jesus. After the resurrection, St. Andrew preached in Greece.


December

St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra- 6 December (in the West), 19 December (in the East)

Patron saint of sailors, children, bakers and pawnbrokers. Inspiration for the American Santa Claus and the the British Father Christmas - even though the traditions of giving presents have moved from Nicholas' feast day to Christmas Day in these cultures.

Born at Patara in Lycia in the fourth century. After he was chosen as bishop of Myra, he became famous for his holiness and miracles. Some writers say he was at the Council of Nicaea and condemned someone for heresy there. There are lots of legends about him, but it's not really clear which are true. However he is very popular as a saint.

St. John of the Cross - 14 December

Patron saint of poets, mystics, and contemplatives, and a Doctor of the Church

Spanish born John of the Cross came from a poor family, and when he was 14 he got a job caring for hospital patients with mental and terminal illnesses. In the poverty and suffering he witnessed, John found beauty and happiness in God. He became a Carmelite, and was a friend of St. Teresa of Avila and involved in trying to reform the order. He was mystical poet, and his works include the well-known "The Dark Night of the Soul".

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