10 Patron Saints Every Animal Lover Should Know

🌺  Written by Amanda Whittington

There isn’t a single patron saint of animals, but there are a number of saints who have associations with caring for animals in some way.

Often, the compassion, kindness, and acts of service the saints were known for would carry over into a love of animals as well as people.

Many of the saints were recorded as having special interactions and even miracles connected to animals of all kinds.

If you are someone who can’t help but love animals, you may want to consider invoking the care and protection of these saints.

 

1. Saint Francis of Assisi

A sparrow on a bird feeder.
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Garden centers abound with statues and birdbaths depicting Saint Francis with animals. Saint Francis had a deep love and reverence for all animals and people, and there are many stories of how he interacted with animals.

A popular story about Saint Francis involves birds, which is probably why his likeness is so often made into birdbaths and birdfeeders.

It is said that Saint Francis preached to birds, admonishing them to always praise God. In another story, it is said that Saint Francis persuaded a wolf to stop attacking people. And lastly, it is said he dismounted his horse and kissed a leopard.

He is most often portrayed as preaching to creatures and taming wild animals.

 

2. Saint Anthony of Padua

Woman looking under couch
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This saint from Portugal is most commonly recognized as the patron saint of lost items. He’s also known for miracles involving lost people.

The clergy venerated him for his deep knowledge of Scripture and his powerful preaching.

When Saint Anthony went to preach, a group of heretics ridiculed him. So he stood on the shoreline and began to preach over the water, and a crowd of fish gathered in front of him. Now, he’s also the patron saint of sailors and fishermen.

 

3. Saint Martin de Porres

Black bull
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Saint Martin de Porres was revered for his sense of humility and his compassion for others. But he also had a special connection to animals. Much like St. Francis, Saint Martin is considered quite the animal whisperer.

One story depicts him communicating with bulls. As the story goes on, two bulls are brought to the monastery. The bulls started fighting with one another, and St. Martin stopped to talk to the bulls. He told them to behave, got them some food, and told the older bull to let the younger bull eat first.

Not only did the bull obey, but it also kissed his habit.

But there’s more! The monastery was overrun with mice and rats that were chewing and damaging the monastery. Saint Martin called all of the mice into the garden. He told them he would take care of them if they stayed outside. And they did!

 

4. St. Blaise

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Saint Blaise is most often known as the patron saint of sore ailments. His miracle involved healing a boy who was choking.

He is also invoked for the health and well-being of domestic animals. Saint Blaise was to be imprisoned for his beliefs, but as the story goes, he sought solace in a cave, making friends with wild animals and healing any that were sick.

Another story, as he was being taken to jail, says that he saw a woman’s pig being attacked by a wolf. He commanded the wolf to let the pig go, and it did.

Sadly, Saint Blaise became a martyr and was beheaded for his beliefs.

 

5. Saint Benedict of Nursia

Raven
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Saint Benedict is most well known for being the founder of the Benedictine Order. However, he is also associated with a number of miracles that relate to animals.

The most well-known is the miracle of the raven, which is the reason we often see Saint Benedict portrayed with a raven.

As the story goes, Saint Benedict fed a raven every day out of his own bread ration. One day, a malicious person tried to feed Benedict poisoned bread. Benedict, knowing the bread was poison, asked the raven to dispose of it so no one else would be hurt. And the raven did.

 

6. Saint Hubert of Liege

deer stag with antlers
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Saint Hubert is the patron saint of hunters.

While he was hunting, he underwent a come-to-Jesus moment and turned his life over to serving God. While hunting, St. Hubert saw a stag with a crucifix between its antlers. Then, he heard a voice telling him that if he did not lead a holy life, he would be sentenced to hell.

Legend says that he cured a man from rabies.

Now, he is prayed to for ethical hunting practices as well as the protection of animals.

 

7. Saint Gertrude of Nivelles

house cat
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Saint Gertrude holds a special place as the patron saint of travelers, gardeners, those with mental illness, and cats.

Gertrude’s father arranged for her to be married to a duke, but she refused, committing her life to God and to celibacy. She was appointed to be the abbess of a women’s monastery and eventually took over the entire monastery herself.

History doesn’t say much about Gertrude and cats. However, she is often depicted with a rodent scurrying around her feet during a time when the black plague was running rampant. Her association with cats was probably an extrapolation of her association with rats.

 

8. Saint Philip Neri

bird in a cage
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Saint Philip was well-known for his joyful spirit and his effect on people he met on the street. He was active in the counter-reformation, comforted people, and used a sense of humor.

Philip couldn’t stand any cruelty to animals and wouldn’t even eat meat. He would set birds free, ask for captured mice to be released, and would even let flies escape rather than swatting them.

 

9. Saint Rocco

Boy walking dog
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Saint Rocco, or St. Roch, was orphaned at the age of twenty. He spent his days helping those who were less fortunate and cared for people who were sick with the plague. Rather than burden others with the disease, he retreated to the forest.

A stray dog discovered him, tended his wounds, and brought him food. Thanks to his loyal canine, the two returned to his hometown when St Rocco recovered. However, he was arrested on the charges of spying, and the two spent five years in prison. He is now known as the Patron Saint of Dogs.

 

10. Saint Isidore the Laborer

Tree in the middle of a field
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Saint Isidore’s life was recorded in the Codex of Saint Isidore, which probably comes from the 13th century. He is known as the Saint of Farmworkers and Rural Communities. In the text, it is said that he would multiply food for those who went hungry, along with the field workers and even the birds.

It is also said that Isidore’s oxen could plow their fields alone, without him, while he prayed. He also was skilled at finding wells and water, and it is said that he miraculously dug a well with garden tools to quench the thirst of his lord.

 

8 Fun and Unique Prayers of Blessing You’ll Want to Receive Today

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Churches offer prayers of blessings at every Sunday service. These prayers ask for healing, protection, health, provision, comfort, and love. Special blessings are celebrated on Holy days, like Christmas and Easter.

But there are many more types of blessings that your church may offer, no matter if it is Catholic or Protestant. You might hear prayers for the sick, for new parents, and general prayers, too.

Your church probably has some unique and interesting blessing services that you never knew about. These prayers of blessing can increase your faith and add to your prayer life.

Many of these can be done on your own, during an official church ceremony, or during a visit with your priest.

8 Fun and Unique Prayers of Blessing You’ll Want to Receive Today

 

Stop the Bickering: 12 Silly Church Debates That Will Make You Roll Your Eyes

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I will never forget my very first council meeting as a brand-new minister of music. The council members didn’t care about my age, gender, or lack of experience. They only cared about the budget (or lack thereof).

What started as a benign meeting ended in yelling and puffy red faces as the elders argued back and forth over how much money to appropriate to the church cantata. I wasn’t even consulted. Instead, I cringed and tried to make myself invisible as the warring deacons decided the choir’s destiny.

While ridiculous church controversies are sad, they can also be rather hilarious, especially when church folks are more committed to their personal agendas than they are to their faith. What do you think of these church controversies you can laugh at or fix?

Stop the Bickering: 12 Silly Church Debates That Will Make You Roll Your Eyes

Amanda Whittington
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Brittany Ann Equipping Godly Women

About the author

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of “Fall in Love with God’s Word” and “Follow God’s Will” and the founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go "all in" in faith and family. Her work has been featured on CBN, The Christian Post, Crosswalk, and more.

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