Cutting Board and Assorted VegetablesAs the holidays approach, you’re probably gearing up for making special meals and dishes for events. Let’s take a look at some of the church’s saints that protect cooks, bakers, housewives and more.

Saint Honoré

Saint Honoratus of Amiens is the patron saint of pastry chefs and bakers. It’s fitting that he has a cake named in honor of him. The St. Honoré cake is a classic French dessert made with puff pastry, pâte à choux (cream puffs), caramelized sugar, pastry cream and whipped cream. Legend has it that when he was named bishop, his nursemaid refused to believe it unless the wooden paddle used to make bread would grow into a tree. The paddle fell to the ground and grew into a blackberry tree. Every May, he is celebrated with a festival of bread that lasts for three days.

Saint Anthony of Egypt

St. Anthony is often associated with pigs. Through the various legends that linked him with the animal, he became the patron saint of butchers. Strangely enough, he probably didn’t eat much meat, nor was he actually a butcher. He is also the patron saint of skin diseases. It’s possible he used pig fat to treat rashes. He was essentially a hermit, but pilgrims kept finding him to ask for healing and counsel.

Saint Drogo

Drogo is a Flemish saint who was a penitential pilgrim. On one pilgrimage, he became terribly deformed and frightened the townspeople. They considered him holy and built a cell that was attached to a church where he could live. His only human contact for 40 years was when he received the Eucharist and got food. He lived in the 12th century. Coffee did not come to France until much later, but Drogo is considered the patron saint of coffee. Legend has it that he could “bilocate,” meaning he could be in two different places at the same time. It would take a lot of energy to do this. Coffee gives you energy. Historians cannot find any other connection between coffee and Drogo.

Saint Martha

Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus, is the patron saint of cooks, housewives and domestic servants. She was a contemporary of Jesus who worked in the kitchen while her sister sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to his teaching. Jesus said that Mary chose the “better part,” when Martha complained that her sister was not helping. Still, Martha served Jesus another meal, so it’s probable that he enjoyed her efforts. She is known for her maturity and concern for others.

Saint Nicholas of Tolentino

St. Nicholas is often considered the “unofficial” patron saint of vegetarians. He is usually associated with bread, because it’s said that he received a vision of the Virgin Mary to eat bread that was marked with a cross and dipped in water to be healed. It’s this tradition that began Saint Nicholas Bread, which is distributed to heal and bless others. St. Nicholas was very generous to the poor. 

Saint Elmo

Saint Erasmus of Formia is a martyr and Christian saint that you probably know better as the patron saint of sailors. He makes this list because he’s also the patron saint of abdominal pain, intestinal ailments and cramps. If you overindulge this holiday season, you may want him interceding on your behalf. According to reports of his death, he preached to and converted pagans, which led to his death. As part of his torture, his intestines were wound around a windlass. Not a pretty way to die.

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

Elizabeth was a princess in Hungary. Her father, the king, had her married at 14. Her husband died when she was 20, leaving her with three children. Elizabeth rejected the courtly life to serve the poor and sick. She became known as the patron saint of bakers for giving a gift of grain to a neighboring country during a famine.


Category: Holidays and Observances Religion

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