Our Top 10 Saints

Explore our collection of ten inspiring saints to strengthen and enrich your faith journey.

A photo collage of Catholic Saints
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In our great Catholic history and tradition of honouring holy people, we have many saints from which to choose. The following ten saints have served as a profound source of faith and devotion throughout the ages and they continue to provide us with much inspiration today.

Who would your Top 10 saints be?

1. St John the Baptist (29 August)

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, c.1607, Source: WikiArt

St John followed in the footsteps of the great prophets of the Old Testament, calling upon the people to repent and be ready for the coming Messiah. He baptised with water but spoke of the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). He pointed Jesus out as the promised Lamb of God (John 1:35-37) and baptised him (Matthew 3:13-17). He had a great following among the people but he always directed away from himself and lived an ascetic lifestyle. His life was centred on God and on his calling.

Herod, despite fearful of John’s popularity among the people, had John beheaded after an oath he made to Herodias at his birthday party (Matthew 14:1-12).

St John’s cult is exceedingly ancient in both the East and West and he was particularly popular during the middle ages. St John is believed to be buried in Samaria.

He is the Patron Saint of the Knights Hospitaller and is believed to protect pilgrims to and from the Holy Land.

2. St Matthew (21 September)

St Matthew and the Angel, Guido Reni, 1635-1640, Source: Wikimedia Commons

St Matthew witnessed some of the incredible events recorded in the Gospels first hand. Matthew’s calling is recorded in Matthew 9:9-13. It does not hide the despised position Matthew once held. He was a Jew who worked for the Romans as a tax collector, and therefore was considered a traitor and sinner by fellow Jews. However, when Jesus asked Matthew to follow him, Matthew agreed immediately.

Matthew’s Gospel was attributed to him very early on in the history of the church and was likely gathered together by 80 AD. The intended audience included Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus as there are repeated references to the Old Testament, and of how Jesus is the fulfilment of the Jewish prophets and the promise of the Messiah in those Scriptures.

Little is known of Matthew’s later life and death although according to tradition, he was killed on the orders of the king of Ethiopia while celebrating Mass at the altar.

Matthew is the Patron Saint of Accountants, Bankers and Tax collectors among others.

3. St Mark (25 April)

St Mark, Church Santa Maria della Visitazione – Venice, photo by Didier Descouens, Source: Wikimedia Commons

Paul and Barnabas took Mark along on the first missionary journey and he is usually identified with the Mark of Acts 12:12 (whose mother welcomed Peter into her home when he escaped from prison).

The Gospel of Mark is the oldest and shortest of the Gospels. It was probably written between 60 and 70 AD (after the deaths of Peter and Paul) and for Gentile converts in Rome. It is an action-packed Gospel, with Jesus immediately declaring the Good News that the Kingdom of God had arrived and performing many miracles and healings; displaying that his authority and power comes from God. Mark is keen to show that Jesus is our saviour and the Gospel ends with the Great Commission to preach the Good News to the whole creation (Mark 16:14-16).

St Mark’s body is believed to be buried in Venice, having been taken there in 828 AD by two Venetian merchants who had stolen his body from Alexandria. He is the Patron Saint of the city of Venice and a statue of him stands tall at the port entrance to welcome all sailors as they arrive.

4. St Luke (18 October)

Saint Luke, Guido Reni, 1621, Source: WikiArt

St Luke’s two-volume work comprises the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. His Gospel is the only one written by a Gentile Christian and he likely wrote it between 70 and 85 AD. Luke was thorough in his research and interviewed eye witnesses when composing his works. Luke’s writing is warm and his Gospel is often summarised as the Gospel of Mercy.

Luke was a disciple of Paul, first appearing in Acts during Paul’s second missionary journey to Philippi. He was a faithful missionary companion of Paul’s and stayed nearby when Paul was imprisoned. Paul refers to Luke as “our beloved physician”.

St Luke is the Patron Saint of Artists/Painters and Physicians/Surgeons.

5. St John (27 December)

The Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John, Saint Jerome, and Saint Mary Magdalene [detail of the middle panel], Pietro Perugino, c. 1482, Source: Wikimedia Commons

Tradition has assigned the fourth Gospel to St John, along with three New Testament letters and the Book of Revelation. He was one of Jesus’ first followers, a fisherman working with his father and brother James (who also became Jesus’ disciple) as recorded in Matthew 4:21-22. John holds a privileged position as only he alongside James and Peter (also fishermen) were present at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2), the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:37-43) and the agony of Jesus in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42). John was also the only disciple present at the crucifixion of Jesus and the one to whom Jesus entrusted the care of his mother (John 19:26-27). John is repeatedly described as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2), albeit, only in his own Gospel. When we read this ‘son of thunder’s’ beautiful gospel, we see how it reaches heights of understanding beyond the other gospels. It is for this reason that John is given the symbol of the Eagle.

According to Church tradition, after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, John went to Ephesus and then later became banished to the Greek Island of Patmos; where he wrote the Book of Revelation. John is believed to be the only apostle not to die a martyr’s death and to live to an old age.

St John is the patron saint of love, loyalty, friendships, and authors.

6. Saint Teresa of Avila (October 15)

Teresa of Avila, Peter Paul Rubens, 1615, Source: Wikimedia Commons

Saint Teresa of Avila was a Spanish noblewoman born in 1515. She was called to convent life and entered the Carmelites despite strong opposition from her father. She was a woman of prayer, discipline and compassion. Her ongoing conversion was a lifelong struggle of purification and suffering. She was a contemplative and mystic whose writings, especially the Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle, have helped generations of believers and continue to do so today.

She was active during the Catholic Reformation and reformed the Carmelite Orders. The Spanish Carmelite friar and mystic John of the Cross joined her in this initiative and together they cofounded the Discalced Carmelites – friars and nuns who dedicate themselves to a life of prayer living in cloistered (enclosed) monasteries and following a completely contemplative life. She holds the rare distinction of being the first female declared a Doctor of the Church in recognition of her outstanding spiritual legacy to Catholicism.

Saint Teresa of Avila is the Patron Saint of relief from headaches.

7. St Stephen (26 December)

Saint Stephen, Giotto, c.1320 – c.1325, Source: WikiArt

St Stephen is described in Acts as ‘a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit…’ (Acts 6:5), ‘full of God’s grace and power’ (Acts 6:8) and with a face like that of an angel (Acts 6:15). Because others could not argue with the wisdom with which Stephen spoke he was dragged before the Sanhedrin. There he gave a speech summarising the history of Israel and accusing them of having an idolatrous spirit like that of their ancestors. He was dragged into the street and stoned to death (Acts 7:54-60).

Stephen died looking up to heaven with a vision of God before his eyes and with words of forgiveness on his lips. It’s a death that mirror’s Jesus’. As Tertullian says “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”. So Stephen, by dying in this way, as the first Martyr, sets the example of bravery, forgiveness and absolute trust in God. It is also significant that Saul of Tarsus, later renamed Paul, was present at Stephen’s stoning and would later go on to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles. 

St Stephen, as a Deacon himself, is the Patron Saint of Deacons.

8. SS Timothy and Titus (26 January)

Saint Timothy (orthodox icon), unknown author, Source: Wikimedia Commons
Saint Titus (orthodox icon), unknown author, 14th Century, Source: Wikimedia Commons

St Timothy was a convert of Paul around the year 47 AD and later became the first bishop of Ephesus. Timothy had fragile health, hence Paul’s advice to him in his letter is often quoted… and followed: “Stop drinking only water, but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (1 Timothy 5:23).

St Titus is shown to be a peacemaker, administrator and great friend of Paul’s, preaching the Gospel alongside him and becoming the first bishop of Crete. Paul states in his letter to Titus: ‘This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you’ (Titus 1:5).

Both Timothy and Titus ministered to mainly Gentile converts and we learn a lot about their work governing these young communities through the letters of Paul to them (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus).

Due to Saint Timothy’s fragile health, Saints Timothy and Titus are the Patron Saints of Stomach Disorders.

9. St Padre Pio (23 September)

Padre Pio Portrait, Solomenco Bogdan, 2010, Source: Wikimedia Commons

St Padre Pio was born into a devout Roman Catholic family in 1887. He had a deep relationship with God from a young age and joined the Capuchin order at age 15 where he devoted himself to the discipline of poverty. He received the stigmata in 1918 and they remained with him until his death. Other signs that drew large numbers of pilgrims to him included his gifts of healing, discernment of the many peoples’ souls who came to him for confession, levitation and bilocation: his ability to be in two places at once.

St Padre Pio was deeply devoted to the Eucharist. He prayed to share in Christ’s suffering and daily offered himself in union with the sacrifice of the Mass. A famous quote of his is: “it would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without the holy Mass.” He had a profound veneration of Our Lady and spent his nights praying the rosary.

Many reported the unmistakable aroma of violets and roses upon visiting him and those closest to him said this aroma of flowers emanated from the stigmata.

His life was met with scepticism by the Roman Curia who banned him from offering Mass in public for a time. This ban was lifted by Pope Pius XI in 1933. He died in 1968 and was canonised in 2002 by Pope John Paul II. The Sanctuary of St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina is located in San Giovanni Rotondo, Province of Foggia, Italy.

10. Blessed Carlo Acutis (Beatified 10 October, Feast Day 14 October)

Photograph of Carlo Acutis, Source: Wikimedia Commons

Blessed Carlo Acutis is the youngest person to feature on our list and the most modern. He was an English-born Italian Catholic who died of leukemia in 2006, at the age of 15. On 10 October 2020 he was beatified at a special Mass in the city of Assisi and is now just one step away from sainthood.

Carlo had a very special love for God from a young age and encouraged his parents to attend Mass in Italy where they lived. His witness of faith led to a deep conversion in his mum. He loved to pray the rosary, went to Mass daily, to confession weekly and asked his parents to take him on pilgrimages. He also had an interest in gaming, computer programming and football, just like so many boys his age, although he only allowed himself to play video games for an hour a week. Carlo used his knowledge of programming and the internet to spread his faith, creating a website to catalogue and promote Eucharistic miracles.

When he was diagnosed with leukemia he offered his sufferings for Pope Benedict XVI and for the Church, saying “I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer for the Lord, for the Pope, and the Church.” He is buried in the Church of St Mary ‘Maggiore’, Assisi, Italy. In February 2020, Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to him.