Many Italians are very religious. They tend to be of the Catholic faith and venerate many Saints from the region. Celebrations of the Saints also occur throughout the U.S. in the Italian-American community.
Created by leruzzier on Dec 7, 2010
Last updated: 12/13/10 at 07:31 PM
Tags: italian italian saints saint days how italian saints are celebrated traditions catholicism in the italian culture saint feasts in the u.s.
St. Padre Pio's real name was Francesco, but when he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910 he became known as Padre Pio.
In 1918, Padre pio was kneeling in front of the cross and he noticed marks on his body as if he had been nailed to the cross in the manner of Jesus Christ.
He was the first Priest to show signs of the stigmata. These marks, were real wounds that were studies by many doctors. Yet, no one could figure out how he could have received this wounds in a medical sense and the wounds never became infected.
The wounds would bleed and emit the scent of roses. Many have reported smelling this scent when praying to or visiting Pietrelcina (where he was from).
When he died in 1968, over 100,000 people attended his funeral. He was Canonized on June 16, 2002.
Like many other Saints, he is celebrated with festivals throughout the world.
Many believers have said to have had personal encounters with Padre Pio's miracles or his scent of roses.
Lucio Ruzzier had a personal encounter with the miracles of Padre Pio. When my father was on his way to Italy for business, he was greeted on the plane by a nun he had never seen or met before. Yet, the nun knew who he was. She told him that before he died Padre Pio had given her a rosary to give to a man named Lucio Ruzzier and that she would know who that was when the time came. The nun gave the rosary to my dad (who always believed in Padre Pio and his miracles). Whenever my father needed guidance he prayed to Padre Pio on the rosary that "found" him.
Saint Frances Cabrini was born on July 15, 1850, in Sant 'Angelo, Italy. She was born into a family of farmers.
Cabrini took devoted her life to God and took her religious vows in 1877. She was the Mother Superior of an Orphanage in Codogno, Italy. In 1880, St. Frances and six other sisters founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
St. Frances was sent to NY City in 1889 by the Pope. She was to help Italian Immigrants in the United States. She founded an orphanage in Ny. She founded over 60 different orphanages throughout the U.S., South America, and Europe.
St. Frances Cabrini was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1909. She died of dysentery in Chicago, Illinois, on December 22, 1917.
Her body has remained partially incorrupt and is enshrined under glass in the altar at St. Frances Cabrini Shrine in Manhattan.
She was the first American citizen and therefore the first Italian-American to become a Saint.
Her feast day is November 13th.
She is the Patron Saint of immigrants and hospital administrators.
Every year in August, the Sons of Italy in New York honor St. Frances Cabrini. They hold a street festival with food and live entertainment.
St. Charles was born into a wealthy family on Lake Maggiore, Italy. He devoted his life to the priesthood when he was ordained in 1563. In the same year, he was named Bishop of Milan. He was the nephew of Pope Pius IV.
He participated in the Council of Trent and created great changes. He put into place moral rules, established seminaries, and founded a Christian Doctrine for the religious instruction of children.
He helped to reform the Catholic Church and was a great patron of learning.
St. Charles Borromeo died in 1584.
His feast day is November 4th.
He is the Patron Saint against ulcers, for bishops, catechists, intestinal disorders, seminarians, and Lombardy, Italy.
St. Charles is celebrated throughout the U.S. through masses and festivals. Several schools are also named after the saint including St. Charles Borromeo school in Orlando, Fl.
In Italy, St. Charles is celebrated in MIlan. Where a mass is held and a feast in the streets.
St. Rita was born in 1381 in Spoleto, Italy. She wanted to join a convent from the time she was young, but her parents arranged a marriage for her.
She married and had two children. St. Rita kept faith, prayed to God, and frequently received sacraments. After 20 years of Marriage, her husband died. Soon after both of her sons perished.
St. Rita then joined a Convent and devoted her life to God. One day she prayed for God to bestow upon her his suffering. A piece of the thorn crown on the crucifix of Jesus fell and punctured her head. It left a deep wound that would never heal. She died on May 22, 1457.
She is the Patron Saint of impossible cases. Her feast day is May 22.
In 1907, in Philadelphia the Augustinian Friars created the St. Rita parish to tend to the many Italian Immigrants in the area. At the Shrine, St. Rita is honored daily.
In Cincinnati, Ohio there is a yearly festival thrown on May 22nd in honor of St. Rita.
In Umbria, Italy St. Rita is also celebrated on May 22nd. She is honored here by a mass and a procession through the streets.
St. Catherine of Siena was born on March 25th, 1347, in Siena, Italy. She was a tertiary of the Dominican Order. She was also a philosopher and theologian. She helped to campaign for the Papacy to return to Rome after its short time in France. She also worked to bring cooperation between Italian cities.
She fasted for many years, eating only the Eucharist (Body of Christ) daily. She died at the age of 33 in Rome on the 29th of April, 1380.
Her feast day is the 30th of April. She along with St. Francis of Assisi is the Patron Saint of Sicily. She is also the Patron Saint of illness, firefighters, miscarriages, sexual temptation, and nurses.
In Siena, Italy there is a mass held in her honor as well as a procession through the streets. Young Italian men where the traditional garb of Siena as they play instruments in honor of the Saint.
In the United States, masses and festivals are held in her honor.
Saint Anthony was born to noble parents. Anthony joined the Order of Friars Minor. While he was ill, a ship Anthony was traveling on was shipwrecked off the coast of Sicily. As a member of the Franciscan order he made his way from Sicily, to Assisi, and at this point he lived as a hermit in Romagna, Italy.
Eventually, Saint Anthony begin to preach the Gospel throughout northern Italy. His preaching became very powerful to those who heard it.
It is said that when he died, the church bells rang on their own accord. St. Anthony was made a Saint around one year after he died.
His feast day is June 13th. He is the Patron Saint of lost articles, shipwrecks, travelers, oppressed people, and elderly people.
Each year the North End of Boston celebrates the life and Sainthood of St. Anthony. They have had a St. Anthony feast yearly since 1919. He is honored through a parade, mass, and feast which includes live performances, street vendors. According to the stanthonyfeast.com, The North End's Saint Anthony Feast has become the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England.
In Italy, Saint Anthony is celebrated in many towns, but most especially in Padua (Padova). Here a procession, mass , and feast are thrown in the Saints honor.
St. Francis was born in Umbria at Assisi in 1181. Francis was born into a family of wealth. Francis was a soldier who was in search of glory.
But, one day he has a dream from God who told him to return home and not engage in battle. Francis began to pray often. He visited the church of San Damiano and he heard Christ speak to him from the crucifix. Jesus told him to fix the church, he took this to mean the physical church, and so he did.From this point he cast of his father and lived only for "Our Father who art in heaven."
St. Francis began to preach about God and obedience to the Church. People began to follow him and animals were drawn to him.
He then created founded the Franciscan Order, which is still present today. Late in his life, Francis developed the stigmata, the marks of nails that Christ suffered when nailed to the cross. He died on October 4, 1226 at the age of 45.
St. Francis is the Patron Saint of animals, the environment, Italy, and merchants.
His feast day is October 4th.
St. Francis (San Francesco d'Assisi) is celebrated annually in Umbria, Italy.
The celebration occurs on the 3rd and 4th of October.
On October 3rd a Mass is held at the Basilica of St. Francis. On the 4th their is a procession and a festival in the streets.
In the United States St. Francis is celebrated by many and by in several different ways.
In Scottsdale, Arizona there is a St. Francis festival for the saint which features a blessing of the animals.
Other towns and groups celebrate the Saint through masses and gatherings.
St. Rosalia was born in 1130 A.D. in Palermo, Sicily to a Norman noble family. St. Rosalia devoted her life to God and she lived as a hermit in a cave on Mount Pellegrino in Sicily.
She died in her cave in 1166 A.D.
In 1964, Palermo was hit by the plague. During this time, St. Christina appeared to a hunter. She told him where he could find her remains and ordered him to bring her bones to Palermo and have a procession through the city. He did as she had asked, and after the procession the plague was gone from Palermo.
St. Rosalia is regarded as one of the 4 Patron Saints of Palermo, where a sanctuary was built in the cave where her remains were found.
She is celebrated on both July 15th and September 4th.
In Palermo, on July 15th the celebration is called a festino. It is a festival attended by many in the area.
On September 4th, there is a tradition of walking bare foot from the streets of Palermo up to the Shrine of St. Rosalia at Mount Pellegrino.
In the U.S. , St. Rosalia is traditionally celebrated in September with a feast. A large feast in honor of St. Rosalia is held in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, NY annually.
St. Ambrose was a lawyer and the governor of Milan, Italy. Suddenly, the Bishop of Milan died. As Ambrose spoke out to the other Bishops for peace, the people spoke out for Ambrose to be Bishop.
Though he initially refused and even ran away, St. Ambrose became the Bishop of Milan. With this, St. Ambrose gave all of his belongings and money to the poor and began to study scripture.
Ambrose began to write and preach the scripture and its meaning. While also fighting the Arian movement in the church. He died in the year 397 A.D.
His feast day is December 7th.
He is the Patron Saint of candle makers, learning, Milan, and students.
Yearly, St. Ambrose is celebrated in MIlan, Italy. It is traditional for young children to bring donations to the Basilica of St. Ambrose and put them on the altar as well as flowers. A mass is held in his honor.
In the United States, he is celebrated in Northern cities such as NY, Boston, and Hartford.
San Gennaro is an Italian Martyr. He was killed in the year 305 AD.
San Gennaro, became a priest at the age of 15. At 20, he became the Bishop of Naples. He hid christians during the time of mass persecution of christians. He was visiting some christians in jail, and he was arrested.
To kill him, he was given to a group of wild bears but they did not kill him. He was also placed in a furnace to burn, and he did not. He was instead beheaded and killed.
He is the Patron Saint of Naples, blood banks, and volcanic eruptions.
San Gennaro's feast day is September 19th. He is celebrated both in Naples Italy and NY City.
NY CIty celebrates with a San Gennaro festival yearly (since 1996) which brings together a large number of Italians. The festival features an 11 day long celebration with parades, food, music and a mass to honor the Saint on his feast day.
St. Christina was the daughter of a rich magistrate named Urbain. Urbain worshiped idols made of gold, which Christina broke and gave to the poor.
Her father had her thrown into the dungeon for her actions. She was torn by iron hooks, fastened to a rack atop fire, and she was even thrown into the lake of Balsena but she survived through her faith.
During this process, her father dies, and the magistrate who replaced him continued to attempt to kill Christina. She was thrown into a burning furnace, survived a pit of serpents, and her tongue was cut out.
Finally, she died from her body being pierced with arrows and she was thrown into the lake of Balsena in Italy. Her relics remain in Palermo, Sicily.
She is believed to have died around the year 295 A.D.
St. Christina is celebrated with a parade, mass, and festival in the town of Gallipoli, Italy. The feast is held around her feast day in July. She is also celebrated in Palermo, Sicily on July 24th.
She is also celebrated in many cities throughout the North Eastern United States. St. Christina is venerated with a mass and feast. In Hartford, there is a St. Christina society that holds gatherings and banquets in the Saints honor throughout the year.
Her feast Day is the 24th of July.
She is the Patron Saint of insanity, milers, and Palermo, Italy.
Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers born in Cilicia. They studied medicine and were credited for the first attempt at a human limb transplant.
They provided free medical service to all in need. They were accused of being Christians and were tired in a court and sentenced to death by torture.
They were cast into sea with their hands and feet tied by rope but they both managed to break free and swim to shore. They were then burned at the stake, but the flames did not burn them. They were finally decapitated. This occurred on September 27, 287.
Saints Cosmas and Damien are the Patron Saints of the city of Gaeta, Italy. It is believed that through their intercession the city's population was spared during an 18th century plague.
They are the Patron Saints of surgeons, physicians, orphanages, dentists, and against the plague.
Their feast day is September 26th.
There is a large feast held yearly in Cambridge, Massachusetts every year to celebrate the "healing saints." There is a parade and a festival in Gaeta Square. There are even fireworks and a mass is held.
In Italy, Cosmas and Damian are celebrated by masses and celebrations in the streets.
There is a prayer in their names:
Oh glorious martyrs of Christ, Saints Cosmas and Damian, you gave your lives for the love of God, benefiting your fellow man, and crowning your martyrdom with an open and loyal profession of your faith. You taught us to love God above all things, and to love our fellow man as ourselves, professing always, and without fear, the religion of Jesus.
Augmenting amongst the faithful populace many miracles, you are glorious indeed. Through your intercession, which brings about deliverance of these miracles, we pray to you for your aid in all things. May your patronage never be far from us in the illness of our body and soul.
Oh great protectors, Saints Cosmas & Damian, assist us with your love and free us from all evils.
O Divini Dottori che offriste il Vostro martirio per la Santa causa del cristianesimo; Comprotettori del lontano nostro suolo natio, anche qui, in lontane sponde, noi vi veneriamo con lo stesso ardore e devozione. De' benedicete e proteggete L'Associazione che porta tanto devotamente i Vostri Nomi Gloriosi; riguardate le nostre famiglie e l'intera cristiana umanita' e sopratutto, vi chiediamo do proteggere i nostri figli, allontanandoli dai vizi di questa turlupinata e pericolosa Era. Infondete loro il Vostro Santo martirio e la nostra Santa Christiana Fede, per indi, meritarci tutti, la gloria del Santo Paradiso. Cosi Sia
Nostri grande protettori, Santi Cosma & Damiano, assisteticci con amore e liberarticci d'ogni male.
Santa Lucia is an Italian Catholic martyr. As a young religious women, Lucia consecrated her virginity up to God. She refused to marry a pagan man and he reported her as being a Christian to the governor of Siracusa (Syracuse), Sicily.
When they attempted to burn her to death, she would not burn. They then proceeded to remove her eyes, which miraculously re-appeared in their sockets. She was finally put to death with a sword.
Her feast Day is December 13th. She is celebrated in Italy and throughout the world. In Siracusa, Sicily there is a big celebratory feast in the virgins honor every year on the 13th of December.
In the U.S., many Italians from Siracusa remember and honor Santa Lucia. In Connecticut, there is a St. Lucy Society that honors her memory, raises money for different foundations, and gives scholarships.
In the Italian culture it is also a tradition to celebrate your name (or Saint Day). If you have the same name as the saint you then celebrate the day and dedicate that day to the memory of the Saint. Others tell you "Buon Onomastico (Happy Name Day)."
Santa Lucia is remembered as the Patron Saint of the blind, Siracusa, and martyrs.
She can be recognized by symbols such as a cord, eyes, eyes on a dish, and as a woman hitched to the yoke of an ox.
San Sebastiano was raised in Milan, Italy and was a Martyr of the Catholic faith.
He entered the Roman army to help save christians who were being persecuted. He was found to be a christian and he was shot with arrows and left for dead, but he did not die.
He then attempted to tell the emperor that he was wrong for treaty Christians so cruelly. He was then beaten to death.
He is the Patron Saint of athletes.
His feast day is the 20th of January .
In Mistretta, Italy San Sebastiano is celebrated twice yearly. His urn and giant candles and images are carried through the streets as a procession. This is followed by eating food and listening to music in the streets.
In New Jersey, there is a Saint Sebastian Society, which has held a festival in honor of the saint for 85 years.
St. Sebastian Church in Middletown, CT also celebrates their Saint yearly by having a festival and mass in his honor.
He is believed to have been born in the first century BC and is believed to have died between 18 and 19 AD.
St. Joseph is one of the most recognized Saints. He is the husband to Mary (the mother of Jesus) and therefore Jesus's father figure. He helped to raise Jesus Christ.
Although the child Mary carried was not his, Joseph stayed with her and had faith in God and God's plan.
St. Joseph is celebrated around the world. The Catholic Church recognizes him on St. Joseph's Day which is March 19.
This is an important Day for many Italian-Americans. It is a heavily celebrated holiday both in the United States and Italy. St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of Sicily, Torino, and Florence Italy.
In Italy, a festival is thrown for St. Joseph.
Festivals are even held in Italian communities around the United States. A large festival in honor of St. Joseph is held annually in Richmond, Virginia. The festival has a website, which is www.sjfestival.com.
Italians even prepare a special dessert called zeppole di san giuseppe. The dessert is an enlarged cream puff with either ricotta, chocolate, or vanilla in the middle. Not only are these made in Italy, but also in the United States. Italian bakeries in the U.S. continue to make this delicious pastry every March.
He is the Patron Saint of carpenters, house buyers and sellers, fathers, confectioners, wheelwrights, and working people.