Even though I was not raised in a Catholic home, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of saints. Recently I visited the Blanton Museum to take a peek at the 700-year-old Crusader Bible (on loan from the Morgan Library & Museum in New York). I was mesmerized by the way these ancient, colorful illustrations were used to bring the stories to life. I ended up exploring much of the permanent collection at the Blanton, and fell in love with a few works in the French and Italian rooms. So many of the great painters and artists of the old world were focused on holy subjects, and their depictions of beloved saints are some of the most beautiful and touching. I’ve been studying and learning a little bit more about saints, and indulging in some great art history along the way. For Christmas, my mom gave me a tiny hand-painted plaque featuring San Francisco de Asis (the Patron Saint of small, animals, children, and kindness). He is definitely one of my favorites, as is St. Cecilia (beautiful details featured above in the painting by John William Waterhouse), the Patron Saint of music and poetry. Do you have a favorite saint you appeal to in times of need?

image sources: virgin mary from the ghent alterpiece by jan van eck, vintage girl on moon via pinterest, details from “st. cecilia” by john william waterhouse, collection of french brass flaming hearts from moonscuriousobjects on etsy, tapestry coat by free people, strasbourg: capitale de noel by christopher dunstan burgh, flowers via pinterest, elena kougianou lace cuffs, candlelit church in paris by ingo schommer, marais house via designtripper

15 comments
  1. 1
    Alyssa // Runway Chef | January 25, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I, too, always find it so interesting reading about the history of the saints and studying the old artwork of them. St. Cecilia is one of my favorites, as well (she was my confirmation saint), and I’ve also recently become fascinated with St. Dymphna, not only because of her story, but also because she is the patron saint of stress and anxiety.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | January 25, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Alyssa. I hadn’t heard of St. Dymphna before. I am going to look her up tonight!

      Reply
  2. 2
    Libbynan | January 25, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I, too, am not a Roman Catholic. However, my college major was Renaissance, Reformation, and Counter-Reformation. Needless to say I became steeped in Church doctrine and politics. The idea of a universal church with services in a universal language was, and is, very seductive. And the art is amazing! Wandering through Roman Catholic Churches is still one of my favorite forms of recreation. I often sit quietly through a mass while I’m there. My son-in-law, a lapsed Catholic, finds me quite amusing ( or weird ).

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | January 25, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      Fascinating, Libbynan. I visited the most incredible Catholic church in San Miguel de Allende back in November. I would love to attend a mass or wedding there. So beautiful!

      Reply
  3. 3
    Ania | January 25, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I actually do and I found out about her when I moved to the US. Saint Rita patron Saint of Impossible Dreams, how could you not like that?:) Somehow knowing about her always helps me in difficult moments.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | January 25, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Saint Rita! Wonderful. The Patron Saint of Impossible Dreams…. I love that. We could all use one of those every once in a while. Thanks, Ania.

      Reply
  4. 4
    susan | January 25, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    This was so interesting. What a unique post.
    http://a-woman-of-a-certain-age.com/

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | January 25, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks, Susan!

      Reply
  5. 5
    Dana | January 25, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    St. Hildegard of Bingen. A remarkable and highly accomplished woman of the 12th century.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | January 25, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      It’s great to hear that so many of you have a favorite female saint. I will put St. Hildegard on my research list as well!

      Reply
  6. 6
    Molly McConn | January 25, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Oh, Jenn! I love this. I think everyone can enjoy being schooled in the sainthood regardless of their religious beliefs. Their lives are truly fascinating — the sacrifices they made, miracles they encountered and visions they had.

    I love that about Saint Rita from Ania above. There is such a varied list of patronages, all fascinating and uniquely correlated to their lives and vocations.

    I wear a Saint Benedict medal every day and truly believe in its power to protect! I was named after Saint Bridget of Sweden. She had a big family like my own and was recognized for balancing her domestic and spiritual life. While I have yet to enter that stage of life, she inspires me to maintain that balance the best I can once I do become mom! Speaking of, so many smiles for Kelly on expecting another leetle one! And that bride-to-be, C!!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rose Smith | January 25, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      Wonderful to hear from you, Molly! And how interesting that you were named after a saint, yourself. I have so many new saints to look into with all the comments from this post. It is great to have your perspective in our comment thread for this post (and to hear from one of our favorite former interns!) xoxo Jenn

      Reply
      • Molly McConn | January 26, 2016 at 12:37 pm

        Had to swing by — I started my internship a year ago today with the lingerie pop-up shoot! xo

        Reply
  7. 7
    Andrea | January 26, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Growing up Catholic and going to CCD classes every week, I always like Saint Anastasia. I picked her when I made my confirmation. In retrospect, a 16 year picking the “Patron Saint of Widows” as someone to model her life after is kind of strange. 🙂 She was also known as a healer which is what I liked about her at the time.

    Reply
  8. 8
    erindoyle3 | February 2, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Super late to this comment thread but had to put a word in for my main man: St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint for the recovery of lost items!! He pulls through every.single.time I’ve lost/misplaced something. (A dramatic example: my mother credits him for finding the diamond from her engagement ring. It fell out of the ring setting on a golf course only to be discovered missing much later that evening. She found it later that night in a crack on the ground, sparkling up at her under the glare of her flashlight.)

    Reply
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