Patron Saints of Immigrants, Refugees, and Migrants
Throughout history, migration has been a common human experience. People have migrated for various reasons such as seeking refuge from war or persecution, in search of a better life or employment opportunities, or due to environmental or natural disasters. Today, there are over 270 million international migrants worldwide, with an estimated 26 million refugees forced to flee their homes due to conflict or persecution (UN, 2020).
In times of migration and displacement, many people turn to religion for comfort and guidance. Saints play a significant role in various religions, and there are specific patron saints for immigrants, refugees, and migrants. In this article, we will explore some of the patron saints that are associated with these groups.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was born in Italy in 1850 and founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She devoted her life to the service of migrants and refugees, particularly Italian immigrants in the United States. St. Cabrini established schools, hospitals, and orphanages, and was instrumental in advocating for the rights of immigrants. She is the patron saint of immigrants and hospital administrators (Catholic News Agency, 2021).
St. Josephine Bakhita
St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in the late 19th century and was kidnapped and sold into slavery at a young age. She was eventually freed and became a nun, devoting her life to helping others. St. Bakhita is the patron saint of refugees, particularly those who have been trafficked or subjected to slavery (Catholic News Agency, 2021).
St. Juan Diego
St. Juan Diego was a peasant from Mexico and is famously known for his vision of the Virgin Mary, which led to the creation of the Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine. St. Juan Diego was known for his humility, compassion, and love for others, especially the poor and marginalized. He is the patron saint of migrants and those who work with them (Catholic News Agency, 2021).
St. Frances of Rome
St. Frances of Rome was born in the early 15th century in Italy and dedicated her life to helping the sick and the poor. She is known for her service to pilgrims and refugees who traveled through Rome. St. Frances of Rome is the patron saint of immigrants and refugees, and her feast day is celebrated on March 9th (Catholic News Agency, 2021).
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Anthony of Padua was born in Portugal in the 12th century and is known for his compassion and love for the poor and marginalized. He is the patron saint of travelers and immigrants, and his feast day is celebrated on June 13th (Catholic News Agency, 2021).
Migration is a complex and often challenging experience for individuals and communities. It is not surprising that people turn to religion and saints for comfort and guidance during these times. The patron saints of immigrants, refugees, and migrants remind us of the importance of compassion, love, and service to those who are marginalized and in need. As we continue to grapple with issues of migration and displacement, let us turn to these patron saints for inspiration and guidance.