Since joining the Catholic Church in 2007, I find myself turning more and more to the saints as examples and inspiration in my daily life. As a mom, I’ve looked for saints can pray for me during pregnancy and childbirth; as a wife, I’ve looked for saints who can support me in my marriage. As a writer, editor and blogger, I find inspiration in these patron saints of writing professionals.
The Catholic Church recognizes several patron saints of writing professionals such as journalists, poets, editors and others involved in the publishing industry. These saints may inspire today’s wordsmiths by their example and offer their intercession for those suffering writer’s block or seeking inspiration.
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St. Brigit of Ireland
St. Brigit (or Brigid) of Kildare is the Patron Saint of Printing Presses and Poets. She lived from 451 to 525 in Ireland, knew St. Patrick, and founded a convent and two monastic institutions. She also established a school of art at Kildare that became famous for its illuminated manuscripts. Her feast day is February 1.
Brigid also is said to have been very bashful and modest. Yet she shared her gifts, time, and knowledge freely with those in her monastery and beyond. She provides a good reminder to smile, engage, and trust the Holy Spirit when we are placed in unfamiliar social settings. ~ Melanie Rigney, Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration
St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis de Sales is the Patron Saint of Writers and Journalists. He lived from 1567-1622 in France. He became a priest at the age of 26 and began writing leaflets (which he copied by hand) on the teachings of the church. He wrote numerous books, including Introduction to the Devout Life (1608). His feast day is January 24.
St. John Bosco
St. John Bosco is the Patron Saint of Editors and Publishers. He lived from 1815-1888 in northern Italy and was a fan of St. Francis de Sales. He is well-known for founding orphanages and schools for boys (many of which still bear his name). He also taught the boys trades, including how to run a printing press. His feast day is January 31.
St. Columba is the Patron Saint of Poets and Bookbinders. He lived from 521-597 in Ireland and Scotland. He transcribed over 300 books and two of these, The Book of Durrow and a psalter called The Cathach, still exist. He wrote other compositions in both Latin and Irish. His feast day is June 9.
St. David of Wales
St. David is the Patron Saint of Poets. He was a Welsh priest and bishop who died around 589. Little is actually known about him, beyond legend, although he was a missionary who established several monasteries and is credited with several miracles. His feast day is March 1.
St. Augustine of Hippo
St. Augustine is the Patron Saint of Printers. He lived from 354-430 in North Africa. He is well-known for his sinful early years and his mid-life conversion. He studied philosophy in Carthage, became a priest and bishop in Hippo, and was a prolific writer. His best-known works are The Confessions of St. Augustine and The City of God. His feast day is August 28.
St. Genesius of Rome
St. Genesius is the Patron Saint of Printers. He was martyred by the Emperor Diocletian in about 303. He was a comedian or actor who performed a play mocking Christians, but when he pretended to be baptized on stage, he had an actual conversion experience. His feast day is August 25.
St. John of God
St. John of God is the Patron Saint of Booksellers and Printers. He lived from 1495-1550 in Portugal, Spain and North Africa. He worked for a time selling religious pictures and books, and preaching about what he sold, to earn a living. His feast day is March 8.
Each of these saints has a unique connection to books, words, and writing. They supported and encouraged those who write, produce and sell books. They lived hundreds of years ago, but their life and work can still inspire writers, editors, booksellers, and other writing professionals today.
Do you have a child who enjoys writing and would be inspired by one of these saints? Check out Choosing Your Child’s Patron Saint by Ginny Kochis, a helpful toolkit that will guide you as you choose the right saint for your child’s interests, temperament, and talents!
What patron saints of writing professionals inspire you in your work?
My is Lawrece Wertan and I just wanted to give you a high-five on a great blog. And you do this with four children underfoot. I’ve always know that women can do things that astound. I used to be a Catholic — 11 years of Catholic school even. I now go to the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synoid, we’re the ones who actually believe in God, and the Bible, retro stuff like that, and that salvation is through grace and not works. Sorry, I do have a question: What do you know about Saint Expeditus?
Lawrence – thanks for dropping by. I’m glad you like my blog. Your comment made me laugh because I grew up Lutheran and attended a Lutheran university, where I took several courses on Martin Luther and his teachings, before I began reading the Catholic Catechism and converted. Catholics also believe in God and the Bible (as do most Christian denominations) and I agree with you that salvation is through grace… but that we demonstrate our salvation by works. God calls us to feed the poor, help the homeless, clothe the naked, etc. His people aren’t expected to sit around on their duffs waiting for heaven. 🙂 And no, I haven’t heard about Saint Expeditus. I’ll have to look him up.
I’m pretty sure Saint David the King was sort of the original patron saint of poetry. He wrote many of the Psalms, I think, as well as other pieces of the old testament.
Many thanks for this post. I was sure there had to be more than one Patron Saint of making books.
Great list! I believe I also read somewhere that Teresa of Avila was also a patron saint of writers, but I can’t find the reference now.
I love Saint Francis De Sales! I’ve read most of his book Introduction to the Devout Life which is an amazing theological work. I’ve always had a special devotion to St. John Bosco as well, but I didn’t know he was the patron of editors!!! Now I have even more of a reason to love him!
I love this post! I knew about some of these saints’ literary connections but not others. Bookmarked this post for future intercessors when I get a bit of Writer’s Block 🙂