Patron Saints

Saint Jerome, oil painting, circa 1600, Galleria Guglielmo Tabacchi - Safilo Museum, Padua
Saint Jerome, oil painting, circa 1600, Galleria Guglielmo Tabacchi - Safilo Museum, Padua
St. Odilia, painted wood sculpture, 15th century, possibly Flemish, shown in the state it was before restoration, 40cm high, BOA Museum.
St. Odilia, painted wood sculpture, 15th century, possibly Flemish, shown in the state it was before restoration, 40cm high, BOA Museum.
Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, Portrait of a Lady as Saint Lucy, c. 1500, oil on panel, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, Portrait of a Lady as Saint Lucy, c. 1500, oil on panel, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Exvoto, dated 1773, Collection Aangenendt
Exvoto, dated 1773, Collection Aangenendt
Painted by William van Drielemburg, Flemish, 1677, in a private collection in Palermo, from the book Wunderkammer Siciliano,  the Origins of the Lost Museum.
Painted by William van Drielemburg, Flemish, 1677, in a private collection in Palermo, from the book Wunderkammer Siciliano, the Origins of the Lost Museum.

Saint Jerome, Text and Slideshow

Saint Lucy, Text and Slideshows of Paintings, Sculpture and Other Representations

Saint Odilia, Text and Slideshows

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Sources: John Dixon Salt, Alexis Vanlathem, Carla Aangenendt, Dr. William Rosenthal’s Spectacles and other Vision Aids, OAICC Newsletters, Catholic Online, and Wikipedia

In those denominations of Christianity which believe in the intercession of saints, the patron saint of a particular group of people is a saint who has special affinity for that group and its members. Prayers by such people are considered more likely to be answered by their patron saint. Association with a particular area or profession can be found with tutelary deities from other religions as well.

Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over areas of life. These areas can include occupations, illnesses, churches, countries, and 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.

Recently, the popes have named patron saints but patrons can be chosen by other individuals or groups as well. Patron saints are often chosen today because an interest, talent, or an event in their lives overlaps with the special area. Angels can also be named as patron saints. A patron saint can help us when we follow the example of that saint's life or when we ask for that saint's intercessory prayers to God.

Three important Saints are related to the general topic (eyesight and eyeglasses) of this website. St. Lucy and St. Odilia, are each described and depicted in the pages that follow. St. Jerome is also included because he is so famous and has been represented numerous times in paintings and etchings. St. Herve, St. Raphael (Archangel), St. Walburga, and St. Audomarus are much lesser-known examples and they are only mentioned here for completeness. To this date, representations of St. Walburga have been seen only in the highly regarded Aangenendt Collection.

Problems with vision are prevalent all over the world. In the northern part of Europe people with eye diseases pray for Saint Odilia, who is always carrying a Bible with eyes on it. She died at a much older age and usually wears an abbess (nun) uniform. In the southern parts of Europe like Italy, Spain and Portugal, also South America people with eye conditions pray for Saint Lucy who died a martyr at a young age, usually shown with a palm branch with two eyes on a plate.


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