Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over areas of life. These areas can include occupations, illnesses, churches, countries, causes -- anything that is important to us. The earliest records show that people and churches were named after apostles and martyrs as early as the fourth century.
MARY, Our Lady of Hope
Patroness of the HOPE Center
Our Lady’s whole life on earth was a journey of hope. Mary relied totally on the promises of God, but she was not exempt from temptation. Her hope was tested far beyond anything we will have to undergo. The Heavenly Father asked Our Lady to follow her Son all the way to the cross. And Mary was faithful. She stood there watching her Son die a brutal death. Mary stood there united with her Son in offering His sacrifice and in trusting the Father. Having joy set before them, Jesus and Mary endured the cross, heedless of its shame. None of us will ever have to face the seeming hopelessness Mary faced that day.
As Mary stood beneath the cross, did she remember the words spoken to her at the Annunciation? The words spoken to her by the Angel were God’s promises to her, promises however, that God intended to fulfill in a paradoxical way–through the mystery of the cross.
What Mary witnessed at the cross seemed to cancel out all these promises. God had promised that her Son would be called great, but now He was dying in disgrace. God had promised that her Son would sit on the throne of David His Father, but now He was rejected and thrown out of the city of David! Mary was told by the Angel that Jesus would be the very Son of God, but now God’s mighty voice did not thunder from heaven when His Son was being put to death. It’s impossible for us to imagine the magnitude of the testing of Mary’s hope. Was it all over? Would evil have the last word? Mary persevered in hope, anchored securely in God’s promises. Mary trusted that God would do what He had promised. And this steadfast hope carried her safely into the joy of His resurrection. Mary’s anchor of hope did not break loose. Truly, with good reason, the Church honors her as Mother of Divine Hope!
St. Maximilian Kolbe
Patron of Addiction Recovery
Born in Poland as Raymond Kolbe, St Maximilian saw a vision of the Virgin Mary when he was ten years old. In this vision to Virgin Mary offered him a white crown and a red crown. St Maximilian chose both. He joined the Conventual Franciscans when he was thirteen years old and took the name Maximilian. During 1917, before he was ordained as a priest in 1918, St Maximilian returned to Poland and founded the institution of Cities of the Immaculate Conception. He also founded a Christian magazine, “The Knight of the Immaculate” which he produced in a friary near Warsaw, Poland.
In 1941, during the second World War, Poland was invaded by Germany and St Maximilian was taken to the concentration camp named Auschwitz. While in the camp, St Maximilian continued to hear confessions and continued to perform masses. On August 14th, 1941 ten prisoners were executed because one other prisoner had escaped from the camp. St Maximilian was put to death by a lethal drug. St Maximilian was canonized as a Martyr of Charity and became known as a Patron of drug addicts and political prisoners.
St. Josephine Bakhita
Patron Saint of Human Trafficking Victims
Josephine Bakhita is the Patron Saint of Human Trafficking. She is a shining ray of hope for human trafficking victims and an inspirational demonstration of how a victim can recover from their trauma and become whole again. Her story is noteworthy. Yes, she is a Catholic saint, but her story can serve as an inspiration to all, no matter what their religious beliefs may be.
Pope John Paul II canonized Josephine Bakhita in 2000. Saint Bakhita’s feast day is celebrated on February 8. In 2015, her feast day became the first international day for prayer and reflection on human trafficking.
In 2019, Pope Francis drew attention to the scourge of human trafficking on Saint Bakhita’s feast day and called upon government leaders worldwide to intervene and stop the trafficking of persons. The Pope prayed to Saint Bakhita and asked that she intercede and assist trafficking victims.
Despite the trauma that Bakhita endured, she was able to find direction and value in her life, which can serve as an example and a solace to all who suffer, especially those who have been exploited. Faith can be an important component in the road to recovery for many survivors, as was the case for Bakhita. Her own story, in turn, can serve as a balm for others.