“Mommy, who is St. Nicholas? Why is he a saint?” You could ask him which St. Nicholas, but he is probably talking about the bishop of Myra who became the forerunner of Santa Claus and is the patron saint of children. If you are Catholic, part of your child’s faith journey includes choosing a patron saint. What better patron saint than one who protects children?
Children have several saints who watch out for them. Bishop Nicholas of Myra lived during the fourth century and is said to have returned lost children to their parents, resurrected children, rescued them from kidnappers and other dangerous situations and give them gifts on his feast day, December 6. Your child will welcome a visit from Saint Nicholas bearing gifts, as well as his protection. Saint John Bosco taught and built homes for young children and ended corporal punishment in his schools, which is surely something your child can appreciate.
The Catholic church recognizes saints who specifically look after and protect abused children. Saint Maria Goretti was killed by her rapist and now protects girls from rape and helps them overcome the aftermath. Saint Alodia of Huesca, Saint Lufthild and Saint Germaine were abused by their stepparents and are now said to look after and protect abused children, especially those abused by stepparents.
Sick children have a special place in the heart of Saint Beuno, Saint Hugh of Lincoln and Ubald of Baldassini. Saint Beuno is reported to have restored his niece Saint Winifred to life by replacing her head after she was beheaded. Saint Hugh cared for the poor and is reported to have resurrected a child. Saint Ubald is the patron saint for children with autism and those with neurological and psychological problems.
Children don’t have to be born yet to have a patron saint. Saint Gerard Majella is a patron saint of the unborn because he was accused by a pregnant woman of fathering her child and accepted the punishment rather than expose her. Jesus’ father, Joseph, is also the patron saint of unborn children because he took Mary as his wife after she became pregnant with Jesus. He fled with Mary and the young Jesus to Egypt to protect Jesus from being butchered by King Herod’s soldiers.