The Catholic faith uses medals to venerate major figures, places, and events in the history of Catholicism, as well as a form of holy protection. Some of these figures are saints who have played a notable role within the religion. Each medal has a specific meaning or purpose related to each saint. Learn more about the meaning behind each saint medal in the first part of our series.
This medal represents St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino and considered the father of monasticism in the West. He is known to be a highly devoted man who performed several miracles. He had a great number of devoted disciples, which led to his reputation as the benefactor of students and school children. St. Benedict is also known as a protector against poison due to a failed assassination attempt.
This medal represents St. Anthony of Padua, a Portuguese priest and Franciscan friar who was renowned as a teacher and preacher. St. Anthony is the benefactor of lost people and objects, based on a story where a Franciscan novice stole his psalter and left. After Anthony prayed for its return, both the thief and the psalter returned to the Order. People look to St. Anthony to recover lost or stolen articles.
The medal of St. Jude invokes Judas Thaddeus, one of the original 12 apostles to Jesus, and not to be confused with Judas Iscariot. St. Jude is known for his preaching of the Gospel during hopeless situations. As such, he is known as the patron of people with lost causes. St. Jude had a resurgence of popularity in 1929, after the Claretians in southeast Chicago started devoting services to him. Catholics seek him for guidance and hope during difficult times.
St. Joseph is the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. He initially sent Mary away after finding out she was pregnant with someone else’s child, before an angel instructed him to raise and protect God’s child. Joseph is the patron of fathers, workers, immigrants, travelers, and several countries. Someone wearing a St. Joseph medal seeks protection for these people, as well as fatherly care in general.
St. Christopher is the subject of numerous legends and stories. Originally the man who would become Christopher was a ferryman named Offerus. He was a large, strong man who carried people across a river. One day a child asked him for transportation to the other side of the waterway. Offerus completed the request, even as the child grew heavier and heavier. The child later revealed himself to be Jesus, who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. Offerus became known as “Christopher” which means “Christ-bearer”, as a result. St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers and transportation.
St. Gerard is the benefactor of mothers, children, and childbirth. His reputation comes from a story where, after departing from a visit to the Pirofalo family, one of the daughters noticed he left behind a handkerchief and tried to return it. Gerard told her to keep it, since it could be useful to her one day. During a dangerous delivery years later, she held the handkerchief, which kept the child safe throughout the process. St. Gerard is also known for protecting the falsely accused.
St. Peregrine Laziosi started as a rebel and enemy of the church in his hometown of Forli, Italy. The pope sent Philip Benizi to the city as a peace ambassador, but Peregrine assaulted him. The rebel became remorseful afterward and asked for his forgiveness. He renounced his ways and became a priest. St. Peregrine is known as the patron saint of people with cancer, foot conditions, and other incurable diseases after a cancerous growth in his foot disappeared overnight after prayer. He reportedly cured other people throughout Forli after that.
If you are interested, McVan, Inc. features a vast selection of these saint medals and more. Visit our collection, place an order today, and keep an eye out for the second installment in our Saint Medal Meaning Series.