We know it’s common for saints to come in clusters: friends among friends, spiritual director to directee, brothers and sisters, etc.
But what’s less widely known is to whom the saints had special devotions. Whose saintly stories were told that inspired them? Whom did they ask for special intercession in times of need? This is harder to uncover because, like all of us, narrowing down our favorites to just one or two is nearly impossible.
But here are some of the favorite devotions and favorite saints of our favorite saints:
1. Pope St. John Paul II loved St. John of the Cross.
JPII’s writings and teaching were deeply rooted in those of St. John of the Cross, especially in his emphasis on the “personalism,” the lived experience of the person.
2. St. Thomas More loved St. Stephen, St. Jerome and St. Augustine.
St. Thomas More was tormented over his vocation, and so he recited the Little Office of Our Lady every day. He also had special devotions to St. Stephen, St. Jerome and St. Augustine.
3. St. Teresa of Calcutta loved St. Therese of Lisieux.
St. Teresa of Calcutta, whose baptismal name was Agnes, took the Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux because she was the patroness of missionaries.
4. St. John Vianney loved St. Philomena.
St. John Vianney took a special vow to St. Philomena and kept her relic on his altar. He considered her his celestial patroness. She would appear to him in visions, where they would talk together and she would grant him the answers to his prayers.
5. Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati loved St. Catherine of Siena.
Among Pier Giorgio’s deepest devotions was the Holy Eucharist. He received special permission to take Communion daily (which was uncommon at that time). He would often go to Adoration during the late hours of the night, where he would meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 and the writings of St. Catherine of Siena.
6. St. Kateri Tekakwitha also loved St. Catherine of Siena.
When baptized, she took the name Kateri after the name “Catherine” in honor of St. Catherine of Siena.
7. St. Rita loved St. Augustine, St. Nicholas of Tolentino and St. John the Baptist.
She was deeply inspired by her three patron saints: St. Augustine, St. Nicholas of Tolentino and St. John the Baptist.
8. St. Maximilian Kolbe loved the Blessed Mother.
St. Maximilian Kolbe’s prayer life was heavily influenced by God’s proclamation to Moses on Mount Horeb, “I AM WHO AM,” along with Our Lady’s announcement to St. Bernadette at Lourdes: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” With this in mind, scholars speculate that Kolbe’s last words had deep significance. When asked by his Nazi executioner, “Who are you?” Kolbe replied through a fruit of these devotions and a self-revelation of his own deepest identity: “I am a Catholic priest.”
9. St. Philip Neri loved St. Francis Xavier.
St. Philip Neri was so inspired by the heroism of St. Francis Xavier’s evangelization in India that he considered serving the Church as a foreign missionary. He sought counsel from a wise monk who told him: “Rome is to be your Indies.”
10. St. Ignatius of Loyola loved St. Ignatius of Antioch.
St. Ignatius of Loyola’s baptismal name was Inigo, but he changed it to “Ignatius” in honor of St. Ignatius of Antioch. It’s also worth noting that St. Ignatius of Loyola had his conversion while reading The Lives of the Saints.
11. St. John Bosco loved the Eucharist, the Blessed Mother and the Pope.
Said on his deathbed: “Do not ever forget these three things: devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, devotion to Mary Help of Christians and devotion to the Holy Father.”
12. St. Bernadette loved the Rosary.
It is said that as a young girl, Bernadette knew no other prayer but the rosary.
13. St. Therese of Lisieux loved St. Joan of Arc and St. John of the Cross.
She had a special love for St. Joan of Arc because she admired her bravery and warrior’s spirit. She also said of St. John of the Cross: “Oh! what insights I have gained from the works of our holy father, St. John of the Cross! When I was seventeen and eighteen, I had no other spiritual nourishment…”