Last year I decided to pick a saint for each family member so I could especially ask that saint for prayers for that particular person. I did that again this year so I guess I have a tradition building. I actually started this post back in early January, but I got distracted, so publishing is a month late.
If you are interested, you can find information on the tradition of the intercession of saints here and here (pdf). For me, asking the intercession of the saints is similar to asking for prayers from my friends and fellow Christians here on earth. In addition, it gives me a chance to know some of these historical Christian witnesses a bit better and to learn more about the many, many unique paths there are to friendship with God. All the saints' lives and words point to the one Redeemer, so it doesn't distract me from the Lord Jesus, but rather supports me in my goal to abide in Him.
Here is my list of saints for various family members, with a little information about them (the saints, that is).
(husband) Kevin -- St Philomena
An early church virgin and martyr. Little is known about her life, but her bones and an inscription were discovered in the early 19th century, and there is an amazing list of great Catholics who had a fervent devotion to her, including almost all the 19th century popes, and John Marie Vianney. She is the patron of babies, children and youth and her feast day is August 11. More about her here.
My Parents (who are deceased) -- St Marguerite Bourgeous
This is a Canadian saint so seems very appropriate for my parents -- my Mom was a Canadian and my parents met in Canada when my Dad was at medical school at McGill University. Furthermore, my parents led missionary lives and St Marguerite is the patron of the poor. Her feast day is January 12.
My Siblings and Their Families -- St Francis Xavier
This is an amazing saint with a long list of patronages including many missions, countries and for navigators. His memorial is December 3.
It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards a man’s progress, nor the nature of the task, but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken. -Francis Xavier
Clare and (her fiance) Peter -- St Catherine of Sweden
Memorial day is March 24. She was a married saint and daughter of a saint (Bridget of Sweden), one of 8 children. She is invoked against miscarriage.
Sean -- St Peregrine Laziosi
St Peregrine's feast day is May 1. He is known as an intercessor against cancer. Here is a nice story about his conversion:
Peregrine Laziosi was born of a wealthy family at Forli, Italy, in 1260. As a youth he was active in politics as a member of the anti-papal party. During one uprising, which the Pope sent St. Philip Benizi to mediate, Philip was struck in the face by Peregrine. When Philip offered the other cheek, Peregrine was so overcome that he repented and converted to Catholicism.
Kieron -- St Raphael the Archangel
St Raphael is one of the seven archangels who behold the face of God. His feast day is celebrated September 29th with the other named archangels, Michael and Gabriel. He is the patron of travelers.
Liam -- St Catherine de Ricci
ST Catherine's feast day is February 13 (Ash Wednesday this year!) and she is invoked against illness. Her father opposed her entrance into a convent so she lived a prayerful life at home until he relented.
Brendan -- St James the Greater
His memorial is July 25th (August 5th in the traditional calendar). He was one of the apostles, brother to John, said to be martyred by King Herod a few years after the birth of the Church. He has a long list of patronage, including veterinarians, knights, apothecaries, and various countries.
Aidan -- St Frances Xavier Cabrini
She is the patron of hospital workers and impossible causes, which seems suitable in relation to Aidan. Her feast day is November 27.
At her canonization on July 7, 1946, Venerable Pius XII said, "Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond the strength of a woman."
Paddy -- St Joseph Calasanz
His memorial is August 25 (formerly 27). He is the patron of schools and universities and schoolchildren. He founded free schools for the poorest children, but his life was difficult and he died while his order was embroiled in controversy.
Joseph’s friendship with the astronomer Galileo Galilei caused a stir with some Church officials. Some of the ruling class objected that to educate the poor would cause social unrest. Other Orders that worked with the poor were afraid they would be absorbed by the Piarists.....In his old age, Joseph suffered through seeing his Order torn apart. He was accused of incompetence by Father Mario Sozzi, ... (successor) Father Cherubini ...pursued the same course as Sozzi, and nearly destroyed the Order. A papal commission charged with examining the Order acquitted Joseph of all accusations, and in 1645, returned him to superior of the Order, but internal dissent continued, and in 1646 Pope Innocent X dissolved the Order, placing the priests under control of their local bishops.The Piarists were reorganized in 1656, eight years after Joseph’s death.
My Patron for 2013:
ETA: Amy pointed out I had forgotten to choose my own. Big oversight! So I went and got St Dymphna. She is the patron of happy families and therapists and is appealed to against mental illness, neurological disorders and abuse. She is also appealed to against the loss of parents, I suppose because her Christian mother died when she was young, and she herself was killed by her own father. She is Irish. Her feast day is May 15. Nice to make all these new friends!