Patron Saints of Love

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Patron Saints of Love from Letters from the Saints Blog with image of Saint Valentine

Patron Saints of Love

Saints are patrons for all kinds of things. There are categories you would never expect. For example, St. John Nepomucene is the patron saint of running water. And, St. Brigid of Ireland is the patron of chicken farmers.

When it comes to love, there are a number of patron saints. Here are the four patron saints of love.

Saint Nicholas of Myra dressed as a bishop and helping the three daughters of the poor man

St. Nicholas of Myra

(died c. 346) Feast Day: December 6th

One of the most well-known and beloved saints is understandably a patron saint of love. That saint is the fourth century bishop St. Nicholas of Myra which is in modern day Turkey. Of course, today, he has been transformed into Santa Claus. The real saint was said to have been orphaned at an early age and received a substantial inheritance. He would be ordained a priest and later a bishop. Nicholas was known for his generosity and care for others.

There are several stories that we have from his lifetime which show his love for others and the miraculous. And, then after his death, there are even many more stories which demonstrate his intercession in helping people including performing miracles.

The one story from his lifetime that shows his love for others and seems to be the basis for the gift giving associated with him is about his helping a man and his three daughters. Reduced to poverty, the man had no dowry for his three daughters, and he was not sure what to do. When Nicholas heard of the man's plight, he secretly left gold in the man's home by dropping it though a window. On three separate nights, Nicholas left the gold to allow the man to have his daughters married with a proper dowry.

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Saint Saint Raphael the Archangel with Tobias and the fish he caught at Raphael's direction

St. Raphael the Archangel

Archangel - Feast Day: September 29th

What we know about the archangel St. Raphael comes from the Old Testament book of Tobit. In that story, Tobit, a righteous Jew living in exile has lost his sight.

He decides to send his son Tobias to recover money that has been held by Gabael, who is a relative of Tobit's. The relative lives some distance from Tobit so he suggests that his son travel with a trusty companion. Tobias finds a man to go with him. Unbeknownst to Tobias and Tobit, the man is actually Raphael the angel.

In the course of their journey to retrieve the money, Raphael aided Tobias in several ways. First, he helped him find the way and arrive safely to Gabael's home. Second, he brokered the marriage between Tobias and Sarah who is Gabael's daughter. Then, he prevented Tobias from being killed by a demon. Next, he helped Tobias and Sarah return safely to Tobit and his wife and And, finally, he provided Tobias with a salve which restored Tobit's sight.

Raphael's part in securing the marriage between Tobias and Sarah has made him one of the patron saints of love. He is a great saint to invoke for help in finding your spouse and loving your spouse.

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The ruins of St Dwynwen's Church on Ynys Llanddwyn

St. Dwynwen

(d. c. 460) Feast Day: January 25th

St. Dwynwen's story has the romantic flair that would be expected of a patron saint of love.

She was a young beautiful princess of a Welsh king named Brychan of Brecknock. Dwynwen had a young suitor named Maelon whom she loved. However, despite their mutual affection, Dwynwen was certain that she was called to the life of celibacy and to be a religious. And, she spurned his advances.

One night she had a dream about Maelon in which she was given a drink that allowed her to reject his love but then turned him into ice. She knew that his love for her was a natural love which he was not able to control. She then prayed that he would be restored to life, that she would never have a desire for marriage, and the all true lovers ordained by God would be united in marriage.

Not long after her dream, she indeed became a religious and lived a holy life.

In subsequent centuries, various devotions surrounding St. Dwynwen grew in the area of Wales and Cornwall. One involved a well named after her that became a place of pilgrimage.

In much more recent years, her feast day on January 25th, has become similar to Valentine's Day in that cards and gifts are given in order to show affections to one's wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend.

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Icon of Saint Valentine holding the Gospels and looking up to Jesus in Heaven

St. Valentine

Third Century - Feast Day: February 14th

And, we do not want to forget the best known saint of love--St. Valentine. Every February 14th, many people unknowingly celebrate his feast day as they show their love for others by giving flowers, cards, and other gifts.

What we actually know about the St. Valentine is very little. We know that he lived in the third century, he was martyred, and he was buried on the Via Flamina in northern Rome.

In the centuries after his death pious legends regarding the story behind his martyrdom were developed. Not surprisingly, they revolved around the topic of love.

To begin, it seems likely that he was ordained as a priest and possibly a bishop.

In many of the stories about him, Valentine is described as a priest who in performing his ministry ran afoul of Roman law. Specifically, he was accused of trying to convert others to Christianity, performing marriages, and comforting Christians who had been jailed.

His hand in weddings was considered particularly problematic because it would deprive the army from soldiers who would receive an exemption for a number of months after their marriage.

The stories also indicate that he performed miracles including restoring sight to a blind girl. In one instance, a skeptical pagan judge proclaimed to St. Valentine that he would become a Christian if the priest would restore his daughter's sight. After the miracle, the judge was good to his word and was soon baptized.

Another story is told that after he had been imprisoned, he healed the jailer's daughter of her blindness. When he was condemned, to die, the daughter sent him a note to express her thanks and support and signed it, "Your Valentine".

Over time, the message of St. Valentine's love for others, including even his enemies, and his suffering martyrdom for performing marriages, led to his being invoked by those who sought a spouse. Eventually, a day for his feast day was set on February 14th, and on that day men and women would particularly ask for St. Valentine's help in finding a marriage partner.

Pray for us, Holy saints!

There you have it. This is the list of patron saints of love. Remember to turn to them in prayer. The saints love us and want to help us. They are cheering us on in this life, and they are happy to intercede for us to the Lord for whatever we need.

All you holy saints, pray for us!

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