11 Awesome November Saints That You Really Can’t Miss
November is a fantastic month for devotees of several well-known saints in our Catholic tradition. Even for the recent convert or interested skeptic who wants to learn more about the lives of these incredible diverse people who eventually became canonized, this list (while not comprehensive) provides a fantastic foundation for further reflection. These men and women are certain to both inspire and encourage us on our faith journeys, and we can strive to imitate their virtues that led them to Heaven as we hope for the same. Perhaps one day we will join them in the Heavenly realm, whether or not we are canonized saints.
1. St. Martin de Porres
Born in Lima, Peru as an illegitimate son of mixed race to a Spaniard and freed slave woman, St. Martin grew up severely impoverished and ostracized for his biracial heritage. He joined the Dominicans as a lay brother at the age of twenty-four and learned the trade of both surgery and haircutting. Incredibly, St. Martin was gifted with multiple spiritual charisms, including bilocation, healing, and miraculous knowledge. He used his spiritual gifts to help people from all socioeconomic statuses(including both nobility and the poor), whether ill or well. Miraculous healings were attributed to St. Martin’s intercession even before he died, but even more so after his death in late 1639. We can emanate St. Martin’s incredible charity toward the poor, as well as his simplicity and grace in living a life of both spiritual and material poverty. Today, he is venerated at the patron saint of people of mixed race, barbers, and public health workers, and his feast day is November 3.
2. St. Charles Borromeo
St. Charles Borromeo was born of Italian nobility and was also the nephew of Pope Pius IV, who appointed him as Secretary of State while St. Charles continued his seminary education from the Benedictine Abbey of Ss. Gratian and Felinus in Italy. Once he was ordained a priest and his relative, Count Frederick Borromeo, died, St. Charles refused to inherit his family’s estate and wealth. He was active in education and catechesis during the Protestant Reformation, always maintaining incredible and notable humility, unselfishness, and personal sanctity. His charisms of teaching and evangelization influenced how he became the patron saint of seminarians and educators. We can learn much from his legacy, especially as we discern our specific call and mission in the New Evangelization; perhaps St. Charles can guide us in drawing others to Jesus through our lives. His feast day is November 4.
3. St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Born the daughter of King Alexander II in Hungary, St. Elizabeth was known for her piety from a young age. She was betrothed to and married Louis of Thuringia, who was also deeply devout. They had three children, but Louis eventually died during one of the battles of the Crusades. Afterward, St. Elizabeth became a Third Order Franciscan and founded a hospital, spending the remainder of her short life to care for the poor and infirm. Her charisms included caring for the sick, practicing various works of charity, and leading an austere life of simplicity. She is venerated as the patroness of bakers, widows, nursing services, death of children, and the homeless, among others. Today, we can ask for her intercession to help us grow in the humility, simplicity, and charity she exemplified throughout her entire life. No wonder she makes the top 3 of the 11 November saints you definitely should know. Her feast day is November 17.
4. St. Leo the Great
St. Leo the Great reigned as Pope in the fifth century during Emperor Valentinian’s rule. He is noted for several historical milestones, including a confrontation with Attila the Hun that resulted in the withdrawal of Attila’s army after he saw a vision of two saintly figures on either side of St. Leo. Specifically concerning Church history, he was instrumental in confirming the Catholic doctrine concerning thePerson of Christ at the Council of Chalcedon. Clearly a man of incredible leadership, St. Leo left behind countless writings of great historical and Church significance. He was charismatic in diplomacy, zeal for truth, and apologetics. Though he lived long before us, we can look to him as an example of standing and speaking for truth in the face of secularism and atheism. His feast day is November 10.
5. St. Martin of Tours
St. Martin lived during an incredibly tumultuous time in history when Christianity was no longer a religion of persecution and yet not embraced by most people. His devotion to the Catholic Church was evident at the young age of ten, when St. Martin begged to become a catechumen. However, he had not yet been baptized when he was forced to join the military at the age of fifteen, which he vehemently resisted. So he chose to live an austere life while he served his militaryterm by cleaning the boots of his recruits, though he was an officer. The most famous story about St. Martin’s life includes when he encountered a shivering beggar while he was fully dressed in his military regalia, and he tore his cloak in half, giving the other half to the beggar. Later that night he dreamt that the beggar was actually Christ. His strongest charisms included compassion and mercy. We can turn to St. Martin to assist us when we are facing trials, because he encountered spiritual attack from Satan in the form of horrific visions. Through his intercession, we can obtain the virtue of fortitude to face our fears. St. Martin’s feast day is November 11, and he is the patron saint of those serving in the military.
6. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
St. Frances had a strong desire to become a nun from a young age but encountered obstacles of fulfilling this call due to her poor health. She faithfully worked on an Italian farm with her siblings for several years until she received a call from a priest who asked her to teach at a girls’ school, which she did for six years. Afterward, her Bishop requested that she found the Missionary Sisters ofthe Sacred Heart with the apostolate of caring for poor children in schools and hospitals. This was truly the onset of her life’s work, because St. Frances eventually immigrated to the United States and founded several schools, hospitals, and orphanages that she noticed served poor Italian immigrants most of anyone else. Her spiritual gifts included administration and a deep trust in God, so it’s no surprise that St. Frances is the patroness of immigrants and has been invoked for almost one hundred years. Her feast day is November 13.
7. St. Albert The Great
Though little is written about St. Albert the Great, he is considered “one of the Church’s greatest intellects.” He studied at theUniversity of Padue and taught at the post-secondary level for several institutions of higher learning during his life. In 1245, he earned his doctorate from the University of Paris and is today considered “among the first and greatest of the natural scientists,” particularly gifted in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Clearly gifted intellectually, St. Albert used his gifts to advance the human rationale for faith and is now considered the patron saint of scientists. His feast day is November 15.
8. St. Margaret Of Scotland
St. Margaret had a fairytale start in life. An English princess who fled to Scotland after the conquest of England, King Malcom of Scotland welcomed both St. Margaret and her mother with warmth, eventually falling in love with and marrying Margaret. Once Queen, St. Margaret led incredible spiritual reform in the court and kingdom. Known for her deep wisdom and purity, all the lords and ladies became refined and dignified in manners and virtue under her guidance. Even King Malcom, already a kindly monarch, handled political affairs with more kindness and patience than he was previously known for. St. Margaret is quite an example for us today, even if we are not of regal heritage. Her life reminds us of the importance of virtue and that wisdom is, indeed, the finest treasure for which to strive. We can ask her intercession so that we may grow in wisdom and seek spiritual gifts above all. Her feast day is November 16.
9. St. Cecilia
Though born into wealth, St. Cecilia prayed often and was known to be very close to God. She married Valerian, which is a well-known love story. Despite her marriage, she lived as a perpetual virgin and offered intense penances, supplicating the saints to guard her virginity. To prove her vow to her husband, she promised Valerian that he would see the angel that protected her once he was baptized. Indeed, he saw the angel and believed in Cecilia’s sanctity. Throughout her life, St. Cecilia successfully converted hundreds of people. Though she was brutally martyred through an attempted decapitation, she was the first incorrupt saint to be discovered once her body was exhumed in 1599. She is considered the patroness of musicians because of the “music in her heart” for God, and her feast day is November 22.
10. St. Catherine Of Alexandria
Catherine was born to nobility during the rule of Maxentius, who was known for his horrific persecution of Christians. Undaunted by this knowledge, St. Catherine personally denounced Maxentius for his actions, and fifty converts soon followed (whose conversions are directly attributed to her influence). In fact, Maxentius attempted to dissuade Catherine from her Catholic faith with an offer for royal marriage, but she refused. In turn, Maxentius’s wife and two hundred of his soldiers became Christians dueto her witness of the faith. He had them all killed, and St. Catherine was also condemned to death. She was soon beheaded. Interestingly, she is known as the patron saint of philosophers and preachers, and hers was one of the voices heard by St. Joan of Arc. Her strongest charisms were truth and justice, both of which she strove to bring in a pagan society. We can emanate her life when faced with persecution or even apathy toward our Catholic faith and ask for her intercession when facing judgment or ridicule from those who do not understand Catholicism. Her feast day is November 25.
11. St. Andrew
Initially a disciple of St. John the Baptist, St. Andrew became a follower of Jesus after St. John preached that Jesus was the Messiah. To Jesus’ question, “Who do you seek?” St. Andrew replied, “Jesus,” and Jesus responded, “Come and see.” It was thenthat St. Andrew recognized his Savior and became one of the original twelve apostles. St. Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, was also one of the fishermen to whom Jesus spoke about making them “fishers of men.” For this reason he is known as the patron saint of fishermen, and his feast day is November 30. A beautiful devotion in the Catholic faith is the St. Andrew Novena, which begins on his feast day and is recited daily until Christmas Day. Wondrous miracles are said to have resulted from this novena.
We can be sure that the saints were very much like us. They struggled with temptation and made mistakes. What’s beautiful about the Communion of Saints is that the selection of our Heavenly friends is so diverse. We can find people who were young, old, wealthy and poor, of noble and common birth, from all over the world and during every era of Christianity. The common thread of the saints is their extraordinary virtue – the lives they lived, the mission and call from the Lord that they followed. We are no different in this way, because we, too, have been commissioned by God to do great things for His glory and Kingdom. What we can learn from these beautiful souls whose feasts we celebrate this November is that they are always with us, always available, and we can call upon them for aid when we find ourselves lacking wisdom, zeal, charity, and simplicity, among other virtues. We can be certain that their intercession will be quick and sure, guiding us ever-closer to Jesus and our Heavenly destination.