Random Male Saints

St. Benedict: 6th century Roman founder of a communal monastic order which would eventually become the main form of monasticism in the western half of the Roman Empire. He wrote the Benedictine Rule, which stressed communal living and regular hours for prayer, work, and study, all in moderation. He disliked the extravagant penances and the solitary lifestyle of the hermit monks like St. Anthony, and felt that a more moderate style of communal living was a better way to achieve the Christian goals of charity and faith. Moreover, a communal setting would be easier for the Church leadership to control. Both men and women could be Benedictines. In the early Middle Ages children were often given to Benedictine monasteries to be raised and become monks or nuns (Hildegard is one example).

St. Christopher: legendary saint, possibly based upon someone from the Roman age of martyrs. Legends tell of enormous size, and that he carried the Christ child on his back across a flooding river. Patron saint of travellers, invoked against lightning and epilepsy. Popular on medallions worn as amulets.

St. Dominic: 1170-1221. Spanish son of lesser nobility. He was very educated and studied arts and theology at the Palencia, became a canon regular (monk) and was sent on a mission by Pope Innocent III to preach to the heretical Albigensians. As a way to combat heresy, Dominic formed the idea of a preaching order who would also be dedicated to poverty and focus on urban areas. As with the Franciscans nuns as well as lay people (the "third order" or tertiaries) could be members of the order. For their zeal in combating heresy the Dominicans were sometimes called the "domini canes" (hounds of God). In order to effectively preach the Dominicans became known for their advanced education and were at the forefront of theological studies at the Universities of Paris and Bologna. They were particularly important as confessors to the new women's orders as well as to Beguines and other lay women, and later were instrumental in the prosecution of the Inquisition.

St. Francis: Early 13th century Italian son of a well-to-do cloth merchant. Known for visions, during one of which he renounced all worldly goods and family ties and started a group dedicated to communal poverty and to ministry to the urban poor. Received permission from Pope Innocent III to found a new order dedicated to following the teachings of Jesus and "walking in his footsteps". In conjunction with Clare, helped set up the Order of the Poor Clares for women. Towards the end of his life he received the stigmata. Francis wrote nothing down and little is known of his teachings except through those of his disciples. After his death, the group most dedicated to his ideals, the Spiritual Franciscans, were eventually condemned as heretics under the leadership of St. Bonavanture, who re-organized the order under less strict vows in which the Franciscans kept property as a group rather than as individuals.

St. Sebastian: Nearly legendary character about whom very little is known. Possibly a Roman soldier from Milan; definitely a Christian martyr from the Roman period. Invoked against the plague. Popular subject of Renaissance artists.