Kate Towne encourages all parents to turn to their children’s patron saints for help at all stages of their lives and in all circumstances.
As a first-time mom almost 17 years ago, I lived in a constant state of low-key terror that I would do something wrong or miss something that needed to be noticed about my baby’s health or very life. I was so grateful to be able to ask for heavenly help from my baby’s patron saints for his protection and for confidence and peace in my decisions as his mom. As I’ve had more children, I’ve been very happy to add each new child’s patron saints to my team of intercessors, and I encourage all parents to turn to their children’s patron saints for help at all stages of their lives and in all circumstances.
A person can have one or many patron saints — saints to whom a special connection is felt for any of many reasons, and to whom one turns for intercession. But how do I know who my children’s patron Saints are? you might be wondering. The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides one way of knowing, and there are other ways as well.
Your baby’s name
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) notes,
In Baptism, the Lord's name sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of exemplary fidelity to the Lord. The patron saint provides a model of charity; we are assured of his intercession (CCC 2156).
So then, your baby’s name provides his or her first patron saint and you “are assured of his intercession.” If you didn’t give your child a first or middle name that’s obviously saintly, fear not! It’s possible to connect most names to a saint somehow (ask me how!), and if none can be found by name, there are other ways.
Your baby’s birthday
Every single day of the year is a feast day or memorial of a saint (usually more than one). While only the major feasts are listed on the Church calendar, web sites like CatholicSaints.info list many more for each day. I’ve delighted in discovering what feast day each of my kids was born on. In fact, it was the saint whose feast day my oldest was born on — rather than his name saint — that I turned to the most for help in those early days, and I still ask for his intercession: St. Pio. My son recently told me that he decided to take Pio as his Confirmation name!
The circumstances of your baby’s birth
When my youngest was delivered via emergency C-section, I immediately thought of St. Raymond Nonnatus, as “Nonnatus” literally means “not born” and refers to the fact that St. Raymond himself was a C-section baby; I immediately added him to the list of patron saints I’d already compiled for my son. Perhaps your baby was born during a snowstorm, or during the COVID pandemic, or is a twin — Mother Mary under the title Our Lady of the Snow, St. Roch (patron of epidemics), or St. Thomas the Apostle (whose name means “twin”) would make perfect patrons for little ones born in those circumstances.
There are patron saints of couples struggling with infertility, patron saints of big families, patrons saints of expectant mothers, patron saints of most illnesses and disabilities, and saints with connections to adoption and breastfeeding and colic — the saints you turn to for help in these areas could be perfect patrons for the babies involved as well. And each country has a patron saint, which can tie in nicely with a baby’s heritage.
I wrote a piece for CatholicMom a few years ago about finding your patron saint (or being found!), and you can apply the same principles to discovering your baby’s patron saint by seeking out saints that connect to any aspect or characteristic of your baby and his or her entrance into the world and babyhood. You might find that a particular saint makes him or herself known to you just when you and/or your baby needs it most.
Just as you would ask a loved one to pray for you and your baby, so too should you ask your heavenly friends to pray for you. The saints are special and powerful intercessors and can give the help new parents need when bringing up their babies; those babies can also cultivate a devotion to and friendship with those saints as they grow up. The saints are eager to help us!
Who are your child(ren)’s patron saints and how did you discover them?
About the Author
Kate is a writer, wife to a really good man, and mama to their seven boys ages 1 to 15. She shares her thoughts on Catholic baby naming at Sancta Nomina, and her first book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018) can be found at ShopMercy.org and Amazon.