Italians say that a confused person doesn’t know which saint to pray to. The process of finding a saint to appeal to for protection will be easier come next week when the Vatican launches a catalog of saints.
The International Guide to Saints features over 2,000 patron saints in prayer card form hailing from around Europe, the US and South America.
The catalog idea in Italian and English is a good one for on-the-go requests for intercession, but does seem a little behind the times, now that Italian Catholics can get daily prayers on iPhones and iPods with a free app.
Called “santini” or little saints, these prayer cards are found in Italian wallets from students (Giuseppe da Copertino, patron of those struggling with exams) to frequent fliers (St. Christopher, in these chaotic days of Alitalia strikes is invoked a lot) and singles, who can put their status in the hands of San Faustino.
Saint depictions through the centuries are considered an art form. If you’re looking for some intercession on the run, try an Italian newsstand. Several publishers in Italy sell collect-them-all series of saint images.