December Saints

Some heroes to imitate and intercessors to call on during December.  Chock full of links (all the underlined words) to learn more if you care to.  Add your favorites to your calendar and do something special to remember them and pray with them on their feast days.  It’s not an exhaustive list, but a great place to start.

  • 12/2 St. Bibiana – (d.c.361) Her parents were martyred, Bibiana (aka Vivian) and her sister were given to a woman who tried to force them into prostitution.  When she refused, Bibiana was imprisoned in a mad house, and finally scourged to death.  Patron against insanity and epilepsy, against headaches and hangovers, and of the archdiocese of Los Angeles.
  • 12/3 St. Francis Xavier – (1506-1552) Jesuit Priest, Missionary, “Apostle to the Far East”, Miracle Worker. Student of St. Ignatius of Loyola and one of the original seven members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).  He converted thousands wherever he went, including India, Japan, and near the Phillipines.  He died within sight of China, where he was finally headed.
  • 12/4 St. John of Damascus (John Damascene) – (676-749) Monk, theologian, writer, last of the Greek Fathers of the Church, Doctor of the Church. Defended the use of icons, wrote the first compendium of Christian theology.  Read some of his writings by clicking here.
  • 12/6 St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) – (d.c.346) Priest, Abbot, Bishop. Attended the Council of Nicea in 325.  Most famously known for secretly providing a dowry for a poor widower’s daughters rather than seeing them forced into prostituion. He has a very long list of patronages including druggists, spinsters, sailors, and pilgrims (click here for more). So how did he become the Santa Claus we know today? Find out by clicking here.
  • 12/7 St. Ambrose – (c.340-397) Bishop, Doctor of the Church (“The Honey Tongued Doctor” – hence the bee connection in iconography and patronage). A successful lawyer made bishop by popular acclaim (while still an unbaptized catechumen). Influential to St. Monica and St. Augustine, whom Ambrose himself baptized. Patron of students, learning, and bee-related stuff. You can find some of his writings by clicking here, then scrolling down.
  • 12/8 Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Luke 1:28. Holy Day of Obligation. Click here for an excellent article at Catholic Answers to understand the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
  • 12/9 St. Juan Diego – (1474-1548) Married layman and field laborer, convert, widower. Met the apparition of a beautiful woman on a hill on December 9th who asked Juan to tell the bishop to build a church there.  Three days later (12/12), she provided the miraculous sign for the bishop in the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
  • 12/12 Our Lady of Guadalupe – (1531) A miraculous image conveyed by St. Juan Diego to Bishop Zumarraga at the request of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Patron of the Americas and the Unborn.  You really have to read the full story to appreciate the intense reality of what took place (click here for a shorter version, or the link for St. Juan Diego above for a fuller one). I also HIGHLY recommend the fascinating book, “Maria of Guadalupe”, by Paul Badde (Ignatius Press). It’s easy to read and draws out so much of the miraculous of the image, some only recently being discovered (450 years later)!
  • 12/13 St. Lucy – (c.283-c.304) Virgin, Martyr. Lucy’s rejected pagan bridegroom turned her in as a Christian and she was sentenced to forced prostitution. However, the men sent to bring her in mysteriously couldn’t move her.  She was tortured (they gouged her eyes out), tried to burn her alive (it went out), and finally stabbed her to death. Her name means “light”.  Patron against hemorrhages, of eye problems, the blind, and sore throats.
  • 12/14 St. John of the Cross – (1542-1591) Carmelite Priest, Doctor of the Church (Doctor of Mystical Theology), Mystic. Friend and spiritual director to St. Theresa of Avila and, with her, founder of the Order of Discalced (shoeless) Carmelites (O.C.D.). John was imprisoned by his own order for nine months (they didn’t like the reforms) before escaping.  Patron of contemplatives and mystics. You can find some of his classics, including Ascent of Mount Carmel and Dark Night of the Soul for free by clicking here.
  • 12/16 Bl. Mary of the Angels – (1661-1717) Discalced Carmelite Nun, mystic. Victim of diabolical attacks.  Had a strong devotion to St. Joseph.
  • 12/21 St. Peter Canisius – (1521-1597) Jesuit Priest, Doctor of the Church, “The Hammer of Protestantism”, “Second Apostle of Germany”. St. Ignatius of Loyola was his spiritual director.  Peter’s advice was sought by St. Francis de Sales and St. Charles Borromeo. Patron of Germany, the Catholic Press, and writers of catechisms.
  • 12/25 Nativity of Our Lord Jesus ChristHoly Day of Obligation. Click here for an article from the Catholic Encyclopedia about the origins of the date and early celebrations of this Feast.  Click here for an interesting private revelation by Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich on the Nativity.
  • 12/26 St. Stephen – (d.c.33) First Martyr, Deacon. Acts of the Apostles 6:1-8:2. Name means “crown” as in “crown of martyrdom”. Stoned to death. Patron against headaches and of masons and deacons.
  • 12/27 St. John the Apostle – (d.c.101) Apostle, Evangelist, Fisherman, “the beloved disciple”, the only Apostle at the foot of the Cross, and the last living Apostle. Son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of St. James the Greater (Jesus nicknamed the brothers “sons of thunder”! Mark 3:17). Patron of theologians, writers, and friendships, and against burns and poisoning.
  • 12/28 The Holy Innocents – Martyrs.  Matthew 2:16-18. All the male children two years and younger in and around Bethlehem killed by Herod the Great in an attempt to kill the Christ.
  • 12/28 St. Anthony the Hermit – (c.468-c.520) Monk, Hermit (surprise!). Tried to live a life of solitude, but was so sought out for his holiness and gained so many disciples, he had to move to a new hermitage. Known for miracles and holiness.
  • 12/29 St. Thomas Becket – (1118-1170) Bishop, Martyr. Friend of King Henry II and Chancellor of England until made Archbishop of Canterbury, when he resigned as Chancellor. Refused to allow Henry II to interfere in Church business, was exiled several times, and finally slain by Henry’s knights.
  • 12/30 The Holy Family – Jesus, Mary, & Joseph as family.  Celebrated the first Sunday after Christmas, unless that falls on January 1st (like this year), in which case it is celebrated on December 30th.
  • 12/31 St. Sylvester – (d.335) Pope during the reign of Constantine. 33rd Pope, held the office for 21 years. Built the Basilica of St. John Lateran.


  1. This list is incredibly useful. I am organising our church Xmas quiz and I wanted to pop in some ‘saint’ questions. I am sure it will add a novel touch to the questions.

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