St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland. Does America Have a Patron Saint?

We certainly have a sizeable Catholic population (I think maybe 40% of the Christian population of the USA is Catholic, IIRC). But I’ve never heard of a patron saint of the USA.

Do we have one?

St. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is regarded as the patron saint of The United States. This is consistent with American history; the colony Lord Baltimore founded as a haven for Catholics, (and the only American colony to observe religious tolerance generally) was Maryland, which was named in her honor.

The national feast day is the Solemnity of Mary, which falls on January 1st.

I thought the Virgin of Guadalupe was the Patron Saint of “America” (America meaning all the land from Alaska to Patagonia).

As for the United States, isn’t Elizabeth Seton a patron saint of sorts as well? I think there is more than one.

Isn’t “the Virgin of Guadalupe” just another name for St. Mary?

Mary has appeared in various guises; each is considered a separate “saint” for the purposes of patronage.

The US’s patron saint is Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception; the basilica in DC is a shrine to Mary in this incarnation.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas, and most especially of Mexico.

Elizabeth Ann Seton was the first American-born saint, but not the patroness of the United States. Her patronage includes death of children, widows, in-law problems, loss of parents, and people ridiculed for their piety, and the diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana.

  • Rick

I thought it was Saint Reagan, patron saint of deficits.

And I thought it was Sylvia Saint.

If and when Junipero Serra gets his full canonization (or has he already?) what would be his patronage? The two Californias? Just U.S. California?

Also, my silly nomination: Hugh Hefner!


Technically, Maryland was named for Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I. However, the original Catholic colonists may have really wished to honor the Virgin Mary, and so used this politically acceptable expedient.

Considering the current state of American Catholicism, it would be most appropriate to replace Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception with St. Eugenius Erastes, the Patron Saint of Pederasty. Suffer the little children to some unto me, and all that . . .

By the way, why is this sexual-abuse business an AMERICAN problem? There are Catholic churches and Catholic priests all over the world, and all the priests live under the same unrealistic vow of celibacy. Why is it that only the American priesthood has given rise to all these sex scandals? At least, that’s the impression I get from news reports over the past couple of years. Maybe it goes on in other countries but people there are less willing to talk about it?

Simple answer: it’s NOT a uniquely American problem. There have been major pederasty scandals among priests in Ireland (among other countries), too. Last October, when I was there, that was all you read about in the Irish newspapers.

In fact such a scandal brought down an Irish government a decade ago.

BrainGlutton, this is not the place for cheap shots. Your crack about the patron saint of pederasty belongs in the BBQ Pit forum, if anywhere. This is not the place to debate anything either, including scandals facing the Catholic Church. If you want to debate, you should do so in the Great Debates forum. If you have questions about the scandal(s) and honestly want to get factual answers without debate, it is better to start a new GQ thread than to hijack an existing one.

moderator GQ

Here’s a follow-up question: St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland because [legend has it that] he forced the snakes out of Ireland (or forced the pagans out of Ireland, depending on which legend suits you). St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland… for reasons that elude me right now.

Is Mary the patron saint of the US by default; meaning that we don’t have any saint with a local legend attached to him/her so we automatically get Mary? Is this standard- that is, nations without a local legendary saint automatically get Mary?

A follow-up to the follow-up: does every nation in the world have a patron saint? How about non-Christian nations? Is there a patron saint of Japan (where around 2% of the population is Catholic)? How about Saudi Arabia (where around 0% of the population is Catholic)?

Finally, what about brand new nations? Will Serbia & Montenegro be assigned their own patron saint after a while? Or do they retain the patron saint of their old land (in this case Yugoslavia)?

No quibble with most of the post but I’m going to have to throw a flag on that part. Many of the original colonies have varying amounts of religious tolerance.

Firstoff, I would like to ask that people specify “Roman Catholic Saint” when asking such questions. The Orthodox “patron” of the Americas is St. Herman of Alaska, who organized the first systematic Orthodox missions in the Americas.

The naming of a patron saint for a country would be up to the conference of bishops for that country. So, for newly formed countries, start lobbying the bishops for your choice. Some saints are so well loved and attached to the country, that, it is just a traditional given (like St. Patrick for Ireland).

The U.S. got Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception becuase that theological title for Mary was a hot item back then.

Mexico, and all the the Americas got Our Lady of Guadalupe because of the popularity of that apparition (it was quite influential in converting Native Americans to Catholicism).


Since I believe that patron saints should be named solely based on alliteration, I’m torned between Ambrose of America or Eusebius of the U.S.

St. Herman, of course, made sure that every Orthodox mission had a laboratory in the basement and a dragon under the stairs.

Supposedly, relics of him wound up there, specifically in St. Andrews in Fife on the east coast. Where the golf course is.

In the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions, St. John the Baptist is the patron saint for Canada and also for Quebec, because John Cabot made his landfall on June 24. Although he landed in Newfoundland, by extension it was applied to all of British North America (as it came to be called).