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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day / Soldier Saints

While remembering our U.S. veterans on this Veterans Day, let's also turn to and remember the many saints from which they enjoy patronage. There are many saints who were former soldiers or even became saints while still serving in the armed forces. While not all saints that were once in the military became a likewise patron saint, many of them did and are official patron saints of soldiers. The following are just a few, not all:

St. Michael the Archangel
Who could be better for the patronage of soldiers than the leader of God's army himself? He led the angels in battle against Lucifer and the other fallen angels. He is the great defender of Church against Anti-Christ.


St. George
PhotobucketThe soldier St. George was martyred in the early 4th century. His patronage is vast and includes many non-military areas. In military areas, he is not only a patron of soldiers; it includes the less generalized patronage of Crusaders, calvalry, knights and archers to name a few!

St. Ignatius of Loyola
The founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) had a military education and was originally a soldier. It was after he received a permanent leg injury in battle that he was inspired to live the life of a religious and found his great order.

St. Joan of Arc

PhotobucketThe Maid of Orleans didn't become Saint Joan until over 480 years after her death. She was canonized in 1920 by Pope St. Pius X. This great and still disturbingly underappreciated Saint is a natural for the patronage of soldiers. As an incredible mystic, she inspired and led French troops to victory under divine guidance while still only a teenager! It is only fitting that her inspiration to soldiers in life she continues while she is in Heaven. It should be no surprise that St. Michael the Archangel was one of her three main voices.

St. Martin of Tours
St. Martin died in A.D. 397 and was the first saint to be recognized that wasn't a martyr. Although a catechumen at an early age, he joined the Roman army when he was 15. He was finally baptized when he was 18. Even though he served in the unit that was the emporor's bodyguard and later a calvalry office, he was later in serious trouble when he was to go into battle and he realized his Christianity forbade him from fighting. He eventually became a bishop against his will.


St. Maurice
St. Maurice was the leader of the famous all Christian Roman Theban Legion of the late 3rd century. The Golden Legend records him and the entire legion being martyred after refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods.

Saints Sergius and Bacchus
The martyrs St. Sergius and St. Bacchus were highly esteemed Roman soldiers until their Christianity was revealed. The story of their torture and martyrdom is an example of the incredible camaraderie and loyalty soldiers maintain to one another. By their own belief and mutual inspirations, they would not renounce their Christianity under the great humiliations and tortures inflicted on them. NOTE: they were not a same-sex couple!



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