Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

Symbols of the Saints in Art


You walk into a church and see light streaming through the jewel-colored stained glass depicting people in medieval garb, some men, some women, some holding objects. You see two statues near the sanctuary, one of a man holding the infant Jesus, another of a woman holding two eyes on a plate. In the front of the Church you find two holy cards, one of a young girl kneeling in front of a grotto, the other showing a nun holding a monstrance. Who are these people? How can you recognize the Saints in art?

Over time, Saints came to be depicted in various standardized ways based on events in their lives, and their manner of death. The table below will show you how to recognize some of the most commonly depicted Saints of the Latin Church -- "the Saints every Catholic needs to know." To search this page, press your CTRL key and the letter F simultaneously, input the search term (e.g. "lily"), and use the up and down arrows next to the search box to find all occasions of your search term on this page.


(Doc) = Doctor of the Church
(LS) = invoked in the Litany of the Saints

(Can. Comm.) = mentioned in the Mass's Canon during the Communicantes

(Can. Nob. Quo.) = mentioned in the Mass's Canon during the Nobis Quoque


a young, usually veiled girl carrying her breasts or loaves of bread on a dish. Other symbols: shears, tongs. (LS) (Can. Nob. Quo.)


a young, long-haired girl shown with a lamb, and/or with a dove with a ring in its beak, and/or with a sword at her throat. (LS) (Can. Nob. Quo.)

Albert the Great (Albert Magnus)

a Dominican bishop, often shown holding a globe, lecturing from a pulpit, studying, or arguing with Saint Thomas Aquinas. (Doc)

Aloysius Gonzaga

young Jesuit cradling and gazing at a Crucifix, sometimes with lilies present

Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

an elderly, lightly bearded Redemptorist Bishop with rheumatism so bad he is hunched over, often with a book or holding a pen. (Doc)


a Bishop, often shown with SS Gregory, Jerome, and/or Augustine or holding a church in his hand, sometimes arguing with a pagan. Other symbols: bees, beehive, dove, ox, pen. (Doc) (LS)


woman (3rd c.) holding a slim Cross, a jar, and/or the palm of martyrdom. (LS) (Can. Nob. Quo.)

Andrew the Apostle

a man being crucified on an X-shaped cross. Other symbols: fishing net, fish. (LS) (Can. Comm.)


a middle-aged to elderly woman shown holding Mary and/or teaching Mary to read Scripture. She is sometimes shown at her betrothal to or kissing Joachim, or meeting him at the Golden Gate.

Anne Catherine Emmerich a sickly German Augstinian nun, mystic, and stigmatic usually shown in bed, bandaged to hide her stigmata (including the wounds from the Crown of Thorns)


a Benedictine archbishop (of Canterbury), often depicted with Our Lady or as admonishing a sinner. Other symbols: ship. (Doc)

Anthony Abbot ("Anthony of the Desert" or "Anthony of Egypt")

an older, usually bearded monastic with a pig, bell, a Tau symbol or t-shaped staff (especially a Tau-shaped staff with a bell on the end), a rooster and other animals.(As an aside, the smallest, most runty pig of a litter is called a "tantony" in his honor) (LS)

Anthony (of Padua)

(Note: "Padua" pronounced "PAH-djoo-&") a Franciscan holding the infant Jesus and/or a lily and/or loaves of bread. Other symbols: donkey, book. (Doc)


a Bishop dressed in his episcopal robes, holding an open book or arguing with (or standing over) a defeated heretic (Doc)

Augustine (of Hippo)

(Note: "Augustine" pronounced "ah-GUS-tin") a man with a child, dove, pen, or shell (Doc) (LS)

Balthasar one of the three wise men, or magi, Balthasar is shown as a black man bearing myrrh


a woman holding a tower, or in a tower, with a chalice, the palm of martyrdom, a feather, and/or a cannon


usually bearded disciple with an ax, lance, book (or scroll), olive branch, and/or stones (or standing near a pile of stones). Sometimes depicted with St. Paul. (LS) (Can. Nob. Quo.)

Bartholomew the Apostle

an elderly man being flayed or holding a tanner's knife and a human skin (LS) (Can. Comm.)

Basil the Great

a Bishop shown with supernatural fire, often with a dove present (Doc)

Bede (the Venerable)

an old monk with a book, pen, jug, often shown writing at a desk or dying amidst his community (Doc)

Benedict (of Nursia)

a cowled Benedictine with a bell, broken cup, raven, serpent representing poison, crozier or staff (usually with a curved, ornate top), or bush. Often shown holding his Rule (St. Benedict was the brother of St. Scholastica, so might be shown with her). (LS)

Bernadette (Soubirous, "Bernadette of Lourdes")

a young girl kneeling in front of a grotto, before the Blessed Virgin ("The Immaculate Conception") who wears a white dress, blue belt, and a rose on each foot. Bernadette is sometimes pictured after she received the habit.

Bernard (of Clairvaux)

Cistercian with 1 to 3 mitres on the ground beside him, symbolizing the bishoprics he refused. Often shown with a chained demon, with a lactating Mary, or being embraced by Christ from the Cross. He is shown sometimes with a swarm of bees nearby, or writing. Other symbols: bees, beehive, book, instruments of the Passion, pen, white dog symbolizing the White Monks (Cistercians). (Doc) (LS)

Bernard (of Montjoux, sometimes referred to as "St. Bernard of Menthon")

a man in a mountain setting holding a bishop's crozier (this is the Saint the Saint Bernard dog is named after)

Bernardine of Siena

a short, elderly Franciscan holding a tablet inscribed with "IHS" and/or with three mitres at his feet (symbolizing the Bishoprics he was offered but rejected)


a Bishop holding two candles (especially crossed), often shown saving a boy from choking. Other symbols: comb.


a cardinal in Franciscan robes, usually reading, writing, or with a ciborium. (Doc)

Boniface (of Tarsus)

a man shown with an ax (especially chopping down an oak tree), book, sword, (or a sword that goes through a book), fountain, fox, oak, raven, or scourge.

Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden

(founder of the Order of the Most Holy Savior, the Bridgettines) an abbess often wearing a strange-looking helmet-like crown, and sometimes shown writing and with an angel near her. She is also depicted at the foot of the Cross (sometimes as a child) or having a vision of Christ (especially during His Passion) and/or Our Lady. She is also shown giving a book to Kings and Emperors, and/or with seashells (a sign of pilgrimage).

Brigid (Bride) of Ireland (Kildare)

an abbess with candle or lamp or bowl of fire, often with a cow nearby (usually a white, red-eared cow). Often depicted with (or even symbolized by) a "St. Brigid's Cross" -- a Cross with equilateral arms woven from of rushes.
Caspar (also "Gaspar,"
"Kaspar," or "Jaspar")
one of the three wise men, or magi, Caspar is depicted as young, beardless, ruddy, and bearing frankincense

Catherine (of Alexandria)

a woman (sometimes crowned) strapped to or standing next to the spiked wheel on which she was martyred, holding a book, a carrying a sword and/or the palm of martyrdom, or receiving a ring from Jesus in a Mystical Marriage. Sometimes depicted arguing with pagan philosophers. (LS)

Catherine of Siena

a Dominican Militia Christi (in a black and white Dominican habit) with stigmata, lily, book, crown of thorns, cross, ring, or heart. (Doc)

Catherine Labouré

a Sisters of Charity religious (with the large, winged headdress), often shown with the Miraculous Medal and/or having a vision of the Virgin.


a young girl shown with musical instruments, roses, most often shown playing the organ or lute. (LS) (Can. Nob. Quo.)

Charles Borromeo

a bishop or cardinal wearing a rope noose around his neck, often in public


a tall man carrying the Infant Jesus on his shoulders (especially over water). Other symbols: tree, staff, torrent. Sometimes depicted, especially in Eastern iconography, as having the head of a dog due to the fact that the area whence he came (he was a member of the north African tribe of the Marmaritae in Egypt) was at the borders of the civilized world and hence was populated by people who were seen to be wild ("dog-headed").

Clare (of Assisi)

a brown-habited Poor Clare (Franciscan Second Order named for her) holding a ciborium or monstrance, sometimes shown with St. Francis of Assisi because they were great friends. Sometimes depicted with a cat because the cat who lived in her convent would bring things to her at her command when she was too sick to get out of bed.

Columba (Columcille)

a man dressed in a Benedictine or Basilian habit with cowl in a Celtic setting, usually studying or writing or holding a book. Sometimes depicted on a ship

Cosmas and Damian

a man (a doctor) with a vial or box of ointment, usually shown with his twin brother, Damian, with whom he was martyred. (LS) (Can. Comm.)

Cyril and Methodius

almost always pictured together (often with Cyril as a Bishop, and Methodius as a monk), these brothers from the East are sometimes depicted as surrounded by converts

Denis (Dionysius)

a beheaded Bishop carrying his severed, often mitered head, often with a vine growing over his neck.


the "good thief" who was crucified with Christ. He is always to Christ's right in crucifixion scenes, or he is shown carrying his cross or performing a penitential gesture (the bad thief, by the way, was named Gestas according to the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus).

Dominic (de Guzman)

a Dominican (the Order named for him) carrying a rosary, a tall patriarchal two-armed cross, a lily, and/or a globe. Often shown with a dog bearing a torch (the symbol of the Dominican Order), with fire; or with star shining above his head or on his forehead. (LS)

Dominic di Sora Benedictine priest abbot, preaching, often covered in snakes or otherwise associated with snakes

Dominic Savio

a very young boy (no older than 15, the age at which he died) in prayer, holding a prayer book, etc. May be depicted with St. John Bosco ("Don Bosco") -- his teacher, mentor, and biographer.

Dorothy (of Caesarea)

a veiled and/or crowned woman carrying a basket of roses and apples (usually a small handbasket), or shown with roses and apples on her lap. She is sometimes depicted with an angel, carrying the palm of martyrdom, and/or kneeling before her executioner. (her flowers and not unusual crown make her easily mistaken for St. Elizabeth of Hungary)


a princess with a sword or lamp holding the devil on a leash. Often shown with Saint Gerebernus, kneeling at Mass while her father murders the priest Gerebernus, praying in a cloud surrounded by a group of lunatics bound with golden chains, or being beheaded by the king.

Edward the Confessor

elderly king offering a ring or coin to Saint John who is disguised as a beggar

Elizabeth elderly, pregnant woman with Our Lady or holding John the Baptist as an infant

Elizabeth Ann Seton an American woman in the black habit (with a bonnet) of the Sisters of Charity order she founded

Elizabeth of Hungary

a crowned woman holding out her apron which is filled with roses. Other symbols: pitcher, alms, bread.

Faustina Kowalska a young Polish nun in the distinctive habit of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, often shown before the Image of the Divine Mercy which she made famous

Felicity (Felicitas)

woman (sometimes shown with her 7 sons and/or St. Perpetua, with whom she was martyred) being killed by a sword or an ox (Can. Nob. Quo.)


a hooded hermit with gardening implements, herbs and vegetables. Sometimes shown surrounded by pilgrims or healing the sick.

Frances of Rome

nun in a black habit and white veil, often shown carrying (or before) a Cross and accompanied by her guardian angel and/or having a vision of Hell. Often depicted carrying a basket of food. Other symbols: a book, a branch of oranges, a monstrance, an arrow.

Frances Xavier Cabrini ("Mother Cabrini") a late 19th c. Italian nun in the black habit of the order she founded (Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart)

Francis (of Assisi)

a Franciscan (the Order named for him) with a wolf, bird, deer, stigmata, monstrance, or skull. Sometimes shown with St. Clare of Assisi because they were great friends. (LS)

Francis de Sales

a bald man (of the Order of the Visitation, which he founded) with a long beard wearing a bishop's robes holding a book. Often shown with the Virgin and/or with heart pierced with thorns. (Doc)

Francis Xavier

bearded Jesuit (black robes), often depicted in places like India, Japan, and the East Indies, carrying a Crucifix, bell, or a flaming heart, or otherwise symbolized by a globe, sailing vessel, or lily. Sometimes depicted with St. Ignatius of Loyala -- his friend and the founder of the Jesuit Order.

Gabriel the Archangel

an angel bearing a lily, shield, spear, and/or trumpet. Often depicted making his Annunciation to Mary. (LS)


shepherdess, often with a coin around her neck, with a candle which the devil tries to extinguish even as angels protect the flame. Because she is the patron of Paris, she is often depicted in association with that city.


an armored man, usually on horseback, slaying a dragon

Gerard (Gerard Majella) a young, thin Italian Redemptorist holding the Cross

Gertrude of Nivelles a 7th c. abbess typically depicted with mice (which represent the souls in Purgatory)

Gertrude the Great (Gertrude of Helfta)

a Benedictine nun with the symbol of the Sacred Heart over her breast and carrying a staff. Sometimes shown with a Cross, book containing her writings, and/or taper. Shown, also, praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

Gervase and Protase

young martyred brothers holding stones, the palm of martrydom, and/or with a scourge in one hand and a sword in the other. Usually depicted together and/or with their parents, who were martyred for giving their sons a Christian burial. (LS)

Giles a hermit, living in the wilderness (often in a cave), with a deer

Gregory the Great

a man wearing papal tiara and sometimes carrying a crozier. Often shown working on sheet music or writing, accompanied by a dove. (Doc) (LS)

Helena (Helen)

(Constantine's mother) a royally-dressed woman -- often crowned -- with the True Cross

Hildegard of Bingen an 11th c. German nun shown writing or expriencing visions. (Doc)

Ignatius (of Antioch)

a Bishop in chains, often surrounded by lions. (Can. Nob. Quo.)

Ignatius of Loyola

an Hispanic-looking Jesuit (the Order he founded) with large forehead and receding hairline, wearing a chasuble. Often shown holding a book or with the Blessed Sacrament.

Isaac Jogues

a Jesuit priest with a wound on his forehead (his martyrdom), baptizing an Indian (i.e., "Native American") child, or carving a Cross onto a tree

St. Isidore the Farmer (or "the Laborer") a Spanish peasant with a spade or plowing with a team of oxen, with angels beside him. He is sometimes depicted using a rod to strike rocky ground, whence water gushes forth. He's typically wearing peasant garb, including a flat-topped hat. He's also often shown with his wife, Maria, and their son.

James (the Greater) the Apostle (Santiago)

a man with a seashell, book, scroll, staff, sword. Often shown wearing a floppy hat and/or trampling a Moor or on horseback. (LS) (Can. Comm.)

James (the Less) the Apostle

a man with a book and/or fullers club. (LS) (Can. Comm.)


a man shown with a Bible, skull, and/or lion. Often shown as an aged monk in desert, or translating the Bible. (LS)


an elderly man: bringing a lamb to the Altar and being turned away by the priest; or greeting and/or kissing Saint Anne at the Golden Gate; or carrying a basket of doves and a staff; or with the child Mary

Joan of Arc

a young woman in armor, with sword, lance, and banner, often astride a horse

John Bosco ("Don Bosco") a young Italian priest, often pictured with young people and/or a gray dog

John Capistran

a Franciscan with Crusading symbols, carrying a crucifix and lance, and treading a turban underfoot. Shown also, like St. Bernardine, preaching and/or with the "IHS" monogram.

John Chrysostom

an Eastern priest or Bishop holding a Bible, often with a beehive nearby (Doc)

John de Brebeuf a French Jesuit missionary martyred by the Iriquois

John Fisher

a 16th c. Cardinal with haggard features, with his hat at his feet and/or with an axe (the instrument of his martyrdom by King Henry VIII).

John Henry Cardinal Newman a 19th c. English Cardinal with gray hair, likely holding text, possibly a cane

John Marie Vianney (Curé of Ars) a slight, frail-looking, early 19th c. French priest

John Neumann a German-Czech American immigrant in Bishop's attire

John of God

(founder of the Order of Charity) an intense, Hispanic man in a habit, caring for the sick and poor or washing Jesus's feet. Other symbols: alms, crown of thorns, heart.

John of the Cross

a Disalced Carmelite man with a Cross (Doc)

John the Apostle
(St. John the Divine)

a man with an eagle, book, chalice, serpent, cauldron. Often represented by an eagle alone. (LS) (Can. Comm.) 1

John the Baptist (the "Forerunner" or "the Baptizer")

a bearded man dressed in animal skins (camel hair), carrying a slender cross or a lamb. Often depicted in Eastern iconagraphy as winged because he is a messenger. (LS)


a man (often depicted as older) holding the Infant Jesus or carrying carpentry tools or a flowering staff. His heart is sometimes shown as Christ's Sacred Heart and Mary's Immaculate Heart are, but Joseph's heart is shown surrounded by lilies. Other symbols: the color green and the month of March. (LS) (Can. Comm.)

Joseph of Cupertino a 17th c. Franciscan levitating or flying around

Juan Diego (Cuauhtlatoahtzin) a Mexican peasant before the Virgin of Guadalupe or holding a cloak ("tilma") full of roses or imprinted with the vision of Our Lady at Guaudalupe

Jude (Thaddeus) the Apostle

a man with a flame over his head, wearing a medallion with profile of Christ on it. Other symbols: boat, pen, book and/or axe. (LS) (Can. Comm.)

Julian of Norwich a late 14th - 15th c. English mystic, usually depicted with her cat

Justin Martyr

a man with an ox, pen, and/or sword.

Kateri Tekakwitha

a young Native American woman holding a lily (a reference to her vow of virginity and her title, the Lily of the Mohawks) or a rustic wood Cross. Other symbols: a turtle (she was born a member of the Mohawk's Turtle Clan and the image of a turtle often appears in banners, pictures, etc., of her).

Katharine Drexel a nun attired in the habit of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament


a deacon holding a gridiron, bag of money, Cross, or the Gospels. (LS) (Can. Comm.)


(the soldier who pierced Christ's side) a Roman soldier -- often shown in contemporary clothing -- holding a spear

Louis IX

a king holding a crown of thorns, nails, or a Cross

Louis Marie de Montfort a French priest before the Cross or engaged in Marian devotion

Lucy (Lucia)

a young girl carrying her eyes (sometimes on a plate), hitched to oxen, in the company of Sts. Agnes and Agatha, or standing before the judge who condemned her. (LS) (Can. Nob. Quo.)


a man with a book, ox, or artist's bush and palette. Often shown writing icons. Often symbolized by an ox alone. (LS) 1

Lydwina of Schiedam

a crippled girl with a crucifix and/or receiving roses or lilies from an angel. She is sometimes shown falling through ice while skating (the cause of her crippling) or working on embroidery.

Margaret (of Antioch)

a shepherdess carrying a small cross or girdle in her hand, leading a chained dragon, standing next to a cauldron, large vessel, or beside a dead dragon.

Margaret Mary Alacoque

a woman wearing the habit of the Order of the Visitation and holding a flaming heart, or kneeling before Jesus who exposes His heart to her.

Maria Goretti

a young girl dressed in white, holding lillies.


a man holding a book, near a (sometimes winged) lion. Often represented by a lion itself. (LS) 1


a woman with a broom, ladle, or keys. Often shown holding a jar of holy water and an aspergillium, and with a dragon present (usually at her feet). Often shown with St. Mary Magdalen (her sister) and/or Lazarus (their brother).

Martin de Porres

a bi-racial (half-African, half-Spanish) Dominican, surrounded by animals or caring for the sick and poor.

Martin (of Tours)

man (sometimes shown as a Roman soldier) on horseback, sharing his cloak with a beggar. Other symbols: goose, globe of fire. (LS)


the color blue, the month of May, the letter "M," roses (her love), lillies (her purity), violets (her modesty), Yellow Flag Iris (her Immaculate Conception and her Queenship), strawberries (her fruitfulness), cedar tree, pomegranate, the Moon (with Christ as the Sun), rosary, crown, 12 stars (symbolizing her status as the Mother of Israel's 12 tribes and of the 12 Apostles, see Apocalypse 12), scallop shell, the Immaculate Heart (a heart pierced by a sword and surrounded by roses. Her heart is also symbolized by the sapphire.). "MP QU" seen in some icons stands for "Mother of God." Note that Mary has many titles and is referred to by various names and depicted artistically according to her characteristics and, in some cases, her apparitions. "Theotokos" (God-bearer), "Our Lady of Good Counsel," "Our Lady of Grace," "Our Mother of Perpetual Help," "The Immaculate Conception," "Our Lady of Fatima," "Our Lady of Lourdes" (among hundreds of other titles) all refer to our beloved Mother given to us, through John, by Christ on the Cross, as one of His last acts before He died. (LS) (Can. Comm.)

Mary Magdalen

a beautiful woman with an alabaster box, jar of ointment, mirror, or egg (the egg changed from white to scarlet, proving that Christ rose again). Often shown contemplating a skull. Sometimes shown with St. Martha (her sister) and/or Lazarus (their brother). (LS)

Mary of Egypt a 4th c. prostitute who converted at age thirty and did fifty years of penance in the desert. She's often shown covered in hair.

Matthew the Apostle 

a winged man, often holding a pen, inkwell, bag of coins, money box, purse, spear, sword, halberd, or lance. Often represented by an angel itself. (LS) (Can. Comm.) 1

Maurice (Mauritius)

a knight (as he was from Africa, he is often shown with a dark skin tone), bearing a standard and/or a palm and/or a sword, often with a red cross on his breast

Maximilian Kolbe a young, bespectacled, Polish Franciscan who voluntarily died in Auschwitz in place of another man who was to die


dead Benedictine monk whose body is being protected by ravens or whose murderers are being chased by ravens. He is also shown holding a ciborium, club, and/or a Tau Cross, or eating fish with a widow, or in the company of St. Benedict.
Melchior one of the three wise men, or magi, Melchior is shown as older, white, bearded, and bearing gold

Michael the Archangel

an angel slaying dragon or Satan, and/or with scales and a sword. (LS)


a crying woman, sometimes holding a girdle.

Nicholas (of Myra), "Santa Claus"

a mitred Bishop (often dressed in green or red) holding 3 balls, 3 bags of gold, anchor, ship, shoes, often accompanied by children. (LS)

Nicholas of Tolentino an Augustinian priest bearing a lily and/or a Crucifix, or bearing bread or a vial of money, often with a star above his head or on his chest


a Bishop (often dressed in green) with snakes, shamrocks, harp, cross, and/or a baptismal font.


a usually older man shown near 3 springs of water, with a sword and/or a book. (LS) (Can. Comm.)

Peregrine Laziosi

a Servite brother pulling back his black habit to reveal his leg which was healed of cancer.


a woman with a cow or ox, often shown in an ampitheatre. She is often shown depicted with St. Felicitas (Felicity), with whom she is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass at the Nobis quoque peccatóribus, and with whom she was martyred by mauling by animals and beheading, along with 3 companions. (Can. Nob. Quo.)

Peter of Verona ("Peter Martyr")

a Dominican being murdered with an axe or knife, or shown in the aftermath with an axe or knife in his head (or shoulder), possibly writing the words "Credo in unum Deum" as he lies dying. Also shown with the Virgin and four female Saints appearing to him, or with his finger on his lips.

Peter the Apostle

a bearded man, often depicted in medieval papal garb, holding the Keys to the Kingdom. Often depicted being crucified upside-down. Often symbolized by a rooster. (LS) (Can. Comm.)

Philip Neri a bearded man, sometime shown in religious ecstasy

Philip the Apostle

an elderly bearded man holding a basket of loaves and a cross which is often t-shaped. (LS) (Can. Comm.)


a young girl with arrows or palm and/or anchor.

Pio of Pietrelcina ("Padre Pio") an older, bearded, Italian Franciscan priest with the stigmata (sometimes pictured with the stigmata covered by bandages and gloves)

Raphael the Archangel

an angel carrying a staff, fish, or flask. Often shown walking with Tobias and/or accompanied by a little dog. (LS)

Rita of Cascia

an Augustinian nun with a wound on her forehead, holding/near a crown of thorns, roses, or figs; an infant with white bees flying around her head or coming from her mouth.

Robert Bellarmine

a heavy-set, intelligent-looking late medieval/Reformation-era Cardinal with a thick beard. (Doc)

Roch (Rocco, Roque)

a male pilgrim with a staff and a dog (sometimes St. Roch is shown, like St. Peregrine, lifting his robes to reveal sores on his leg, and sometimes the dog is shown licking the sores)

Rosalia (Rosalie)
a young woman, often in a Basilian habit, wearing a wreath of roses, holding or near a skull and/or crucifix

Rose of Lima

a Dominican (black and white habit) tertiary wearing a wreath of roses over her veil and/or holding a Crucifix. Often shown accompanied by the Holy Infant.


a nun with crozier and crucifix. Often shown with a dove flying from her mouth (St. Scholastica was the sister of St. Benedict of Nursia).


a young man being pierced by arrows, often tied to a tree. (LS)

Simon the Apostle

a man being sawn in two longitudinally. Other symbols: oar, saw; two fish, and/or a lance. (LS) (Can. Comm.)

Simon Stock

a Carmelite friar holding a scapular, receiving the scapular from the Blessed Virgin, praying for souls in purgatory.

Stanislaus (of Cracow)

a Bishop being murdered while offering the Mass

Stephen (the Deacon)

a deacon carrying a pile of rocks or with rocks gathered in his vestments. Other symbols: horses, books, and/or palm. (LS) (Can. Nob. Quo.)

Teresa (of Avila)

(Note: "Avila" is pronounced "AH-vi-lah") a Carmelite nun with heart pierced by arrow, often holding book or pen or being visited by a dove. (Doc)

Teresa Benedicta of the Cross ("Edith Stein") an ethnically Jewish-German Carmelite nun who died at Auschwitz

Thérèse of Lisieux (Thérèse of the Infant Jesus and of the Holy Face, "The Little Flower")

a very young Carmelite nun holding roses. (Doc)

Thomas the Apostle

a man with a spear or T-square, or a man touching the wound in Christ's side. (LS) (Can. Comm.)

Thomas á Becket (Thomas of Canterbury)

an archbishop often depicted with a wounded head, carrying a crozier with a battle-axe head at the top or an inverted sword. Often shown kneeling before his murderers in a cathedral.

Thomas Aquinas

a Dominican (black and white habit) with a chalice, monstrance, ox, or sun. Often shown as a teacher with pagan philosophers at his feet. (Doc)

Thomas More

an English Lord Chancellor carrying a book or an axe. Often seen in association with the legal profession.


a maiden shot with arrows, often accompanied by a varied number of companions who are being martyred in assorted, often creative ways. Other symbols: clock, and/or ship.


a priest with roses, rooster, and/or birds. Often shown giving sight to a blind girl, refusing to worship idols, being beheaded, or with a crippled or epileptic child at his feet.


a woman holding the cloth she used to wipe the face of Jesus on His way to Calvary (the imprint of His face is often shown on the cloth).

St. Vincent (of Saragossa, "St. Vincent of Aragon," "St. Vincent the Deacon")

deacon being torn by hooks or whose dead body is being defended by ravens. Often shown holding a vase-shaped jug, a millstone, and/or a book. (LS)

Vincent de Paul

a 16th century cleric of the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (the Order he founded) performing some act of charity. Often shown carrying an infant and/or surrounded by children and/or by the Sisters of Charity (a Second Order which he also founded).

Vincent Ferrer

a sometimes winged Dominican (black and white habit), often with a cardinal's hat, holding an open book while preaching and with a flame on his head or in his hand. Other symbols: the monogram "IHS" (like St. Bernardine of Siena); pulpit; and/or trumpet.


man with a rooster, or surrounded by lions, or being boiled in oil

Walburga (Walpurgis)

a sometimes crowned Benedictine abbess (she was the daughter of the Saxon King, Richard) holding a vial of healing oil (representing the "oil of Saints" that exudes from her tomb), a crozier, three ears of corn, and/or a book. She is sometimes shown being crowned by angels, or with her crown at her feet.


early medieval Duke, depicted with a staff or eagle, or caring for the poor, or being martyred by his pagan brother in or near a church ("Good King Wenceslaus's" Grandmother was St. Ludmilla)

Other Saints Catholics should be familiar with but who don't have any special symbols associated with them (at least, as far as I know) are:
Anthony Mary Claret
Peter Claver
Irenaeus of Lyons
Gregory of Nyssa
Thecla (of Iconium)
Erasmus (Elmo)
(LS) (Can. Nob. Quo.)
Cyprian of Carthage
(Can. Comm.)
(Can. Comm.)
(Can. Comm.)
Cletus (Anacletus)
(Can. Comm.)
(Can. Comm.)
(Can. Nob. Quo.)
(Can. Comm.)
(Can. Comm.)
Pius V
Pius X

John & Paul (LS) (Can. Comm.)
Blessed Imelda Lambertini
Maria Mazzarello
Angela Merici
Camillus de Lellis
Margaret of Cortona
Margaret Clitherow

Peter (a Roman exorcist) and Marcellinus (a priest) were martyred together and share a feast of 2 June, but I know nothing of them other than this
(Can. Nob. Quo.)
Cyriacus (Cyriac)
Mary of Agreda
Eustachius (Eustace)

Moses the Black
Paul of the Cross
Gaetano (Cajetan)
Gemma Galgani

Gregory Nazianzen (Doc)
Ephraem of Syria (Doc)
Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Jerusalem
Hilary of Poitiers
John Damascene
Lawrence of Brindisi
Peter Canisius
Peter Chrysologus
Peter Damian (Doc)

1 You can remember the famous symbols of the 4 Evangelists by remembering the mnemonic "ALOE" (appropriately, a healing balm) and the order of the Gospels:

Angel (man, winged man) Matthew (also the Tribe of Reuben and Christ's Incarnation)
Lion Mark (also the Tribe of Judah and Christ's Resurrection)
Ox Luke (also the Tribe of Ephraim and Christ's Sacrifice)
Eagle John (also the Tribe of Dan and Christ's Ascension)

The picture just above shows, from left to right: Matthew, John, Mark, and Luke.

Another way to remember which symbol goes with which evangelist is to recall that Matthew's Gospel begins with Our Lord's geneaology (man); Mark's speaks of a voice crying in the wilderness (lion); Luke's begins with an Old Testament sacrifice (ox) offered by Zacharias; and John's was written by a man who "looked into the Sun" by pondering the Mysteries of the Incarnation and receiving a Heavenly vision (eagles were believed to be able to look directly into the Sun). This is how St. Victorinus (d. ca 303 under Diocletian) put it in his "Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John":

And in that the living creatures [of Apocalypse 4:7-10] are different in appearance, this is the reason: the living creature like to a lion designates Mark, in whom is heard the voice of the lion roaring in the desert. And in the figure of a man, Matthew strives to declare to us the genealogy of Mary, from whom Christ took flesh. Therefore, in enumerating from Abraham to David, and thence to Joseph, he spoke of Him as if of a man: therefore his announcement sets forth the image of a man. Luke, in narrating the priesthood of Zacharias as he offers a sacrifice for the people, and the angel that appears to him with respect of the priesthood, and the victim in the same description bore the likeness of a calf. John the evangelist, like to an eagle hastening on uplifted wings to greater heights, argues about the Word of God.

Mark, therefore, as an evangelist thus beginning, "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet; The voice of one crying in the wilderness," — has the effigy of a lion. And Matthew, "The hook of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" — this is the form of a man. But Luke said, "There was a priest, by name Zachariah, of the course of Abia, and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron" — this is the likeness of a calf. But John, when he begins, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," sets forth the likeness of a flying eagle.

Moreover, not only do the evangelists express their four similitudes in their respective openings of the Gospels, but also the Word itself of God the Father Omnipotent, which is His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, bears the same likeness in the time of His advent. When He preaches to us, He is, as it were, a lion and a lion's whelp. And when for man's salvation He was made man to overcome death, and to set all men free, and that He offered Himself a victim to the Father on our behalf, He was called a calf. And that He overcame death and ascended into the heavens, extending His wings and protecting His people, He was named a flying eagle. Therefore these announcements, although they are four, yet are one, because it proceeded from one mouth. Even as the river in paradise, although it is one, was divided into four heads. Moreover, that for the announcement of the New Testament those bring creatures had eyes within and without, shows the spiritual providence which both looks into the secrets of the heart, and beholds the things which are coming after that are within and without.
Note that some of the early Fathers (St. Irenaeus, St. Augustine, and the Venerable Bede) symbolized the Evangelists differently, but the above method is the oldest, was taught by St. Jerome, Pope St. Gregory the Great, St. Ambrose, among others, and has become standard.

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