Skip to main content

Painting saints

Patron saints

Find out which professions and commmunities have chosen special protectors. 

From the time of the early Christians, people have adopted particular saints as their special protectors, or patrons. Many Christians are baptised in the name of one or more saints. Professions and communities, such as cities or countries, often have their own patron saints. 

Patron saint of hunters

The saint is usually chosen because of an event from his or her life. Saint Hubert is the patron saint of hunters – he is said to have had a vision of the Crucifixion while out hunting.

Workshop of the Master of the Life of the Virgin, 'The Conversion of Saint Hubert: Left Hand Shutter', probably about 1480-5

Workshop of the Master of the Life of the Virgin, The Conversion of Saint Hubert: Left Hand Shutter, probably 1485-90

Patron saints of illness

Patron saints may also be selected because they have special powers over particular areas of life, such as illnesses. Saint Roch is believed to have protective powers against the plague. He fell victim to the plague himself after helping to cure many plague victims.

Ortolano, 'Saints Sebastian, Roch and Demetrius', about 1520

Ortolano, Saints Sebastian, Roch and Demetrius, about 1520 

Many other groups and professions have patron saints. Who is the patron saint of surgeons? Which saint offers protection to motorists

Find out about more patron saints associated with particular groups or illnesses:

Patron saints Group or illness
St Andrew Fishermen
St Anne Women in labour
St Anthony Skin diseases

St Barbara

St Christopher Travellers
St Hubert Hunters
St Joseph Fathers
St Joseph of Arimathea Undertakers
St Luke Artists, doctors
St Mary Magdalene Perfumers
St Michael The police
St Roch The plague
St Stephen Stonemasons