Starting the New Year Off Right!

Starting the New Year Off Right!

I’ve been told of a New Year’s tradition that is popular in monasteries and convents.  Every year, the monks and nuns get together and draw the names of saints from a hat.  These become their patrons of the year, about whom they will learn and for whose intercession they will pray.

So I spent some time to program the following for you. There are 130 possible saints. Enjoy and share your results in the comments!

Click on the name!


Go look up your saint!

Happy New Year,


PS – I got St. Bede the Venerable for 2012!
PS – I got St. Kateri Tekakwitha for 2013!
PS – St. Ignatius of Loyola for 2014!


  1. I drew St Francis of Assisi. Awesome!

    • What a great idea. One of my daughters got St.Mary of Egypt who we first heard about at a retreat last summer. My husband got St. Cristobal from the cristero wars. I have been trying to get him to watch For Greater Glory. Now he has more interest.My other daughter got St. Kateri who was a favorite of both my kids when they were little. I got St. Charles Lwanga so I get to learn all about him.

      Thanks for doing this. Happy New Year!

    • I got St.Anthony of the Desert…know to know something about him. Thanks!

  2. Sweet! A Benedictine who loves a Franciscan! It could be weirder…you could be Dominican!

  3. Cool! I got St. Gabriel the Archangel!

  4. I cast lots and got St. James the Lesser!

  5. Definitely got St. John Bosco. He has it out for me!

    • Haha, once a YM, always a YM. It’s an indelible mark of Baptism that comes out for special occasions.

  6. I drew St. Michael the Archangel. Sweet!!!

  7. I got St. Margaret Mary!

  8. St. John Bosco, pray for us!

  9. I got St. Lucy!

  10. St. Simon Stock

  11. An extremely fascinating concept. Do you have a lot more justifications? Develop, it’s going to be an excellent blog in the future

  12. St. Wenceslas for me! Way exciting :)

    • St. Wenceslaus is on the list because I attended one of the TWO St. Wenc schools in Eastern Nebraska. So many Czechs!

  13. What a great idea! I didn’t know this was a tradition! (We chose a family patron last year.) So all 10 kids picked one today for next year, and my husband and I also, and one for the whole family! Thanks!

    • Wow! Bless you! My wife and I have a young family of 3 kids (1 of whom is due any day now). A very blessed new year to you!

  14. I drew St. Thomas Becket.

  15. I was given St Thomas Aquinas.

  16. Outstanding! I drew St. Pius V. Every year on the Feast of the Holy Rosary I subject my students to a lecture on the Battle of Lepanto. This year I will study more about Pius V.

  17. St. Mary Magdalene!

  18. Whoa! Teresa of Avila! A scary-good choice! I am now reading a book by Marie-Eugene on Carmelite spirituality.

  19. I got St. Louis Marie de Montfort! SO topical as well, I think!

  20. I got St. Philomena!

  21. I got St. John Neumann. :)

  22. I got St. Thomas the Apostle.

  23. I drew St. Gabriel the Archangel and my wife drew St. Anne. Interesting given our difficulties in conceiving & maintaining a pregnancy. Maybe this might be the year.

    • I pray it is!

  24. St. Thomas Becket – very nice.

  25. I selected seven names to be put in a hat for each of us, and one for the whole family. What a great idea.

  26. The saint who picked me: St Benedict Joseph Labre… never heard of him… looking forward to being pals with him this year :-)

  27. I got St. Frances Xavier Cabrini! :D

  28. Which monasteries and convents? From what era? It sounds like a kindergarten class, praiseworthy perhaps for teaching children but a bit silly for adults who presumably have patron saints already, and probably have other meritorious ways of having them dedicated or assigned. I can’t imagine all the convents and monasteries with their different rules and disciplines would agree with this.

    • It’s actually a Franciscan custom (so perhaps I should’ve said “convents and friaries”) called “Extraction of the Saints.” I don’t see how picking a saint at random (the idea is that the saint picks you) is remotely childish, though I do find it – with respect – juvenile to attack a pious devotion intended to increase interest in the saints all on its allegedly being disagreeable to “rules and disciplines.”

      Who said we can each only have one patron saint? Why do we get one at Confirmation if we already have one (or two) via our Christian names from Baptism? Why do the “rules and disciplines” of so many orders call for monks and nuns and friars to take new names and new patrons upon their entrance into the community?

      • I do this as ‘practice’ for my RCIA students in order to help them learn about saints. On business-card-size slips of paper, one side has the saint name, years of earthly life, city/country of origin. On the other side is printed a quote from them.
        These are placed in a small gift box and it is passed around the group so they can chose randomly.
        Then they must research the saint and report back to the group throughout the next few months. They all enjoy it.

      • Thanks, Micah. I think it’s a great custom; although, I don’t exactly know what to make of being picked by Pope St. Celestine V. But I did get a chance to learn about this very unusual papacy. Apparently, his was the first that ended in abdication and maybe the only (hopefully) pope imprisoned by his successor.

  29. I am preparing a talk about St. Ambrose in March. Who did I draw as my saint? St. Ambrose of course! How cool is that?


  31. Shameless hit=and-run spam: After you spin the wheel, come read about your new patron, and a bunch more of your extended family in heaven at

    • I linked to your saint profiles! Nobody has a better saint directory!

    • I always send my RCIA students to your website for researching their saints.

  32. Thank you for posting this. I got St. Matthew and at first I was thinking in a bit of a bored attitude. “Really? St. Matthew?” but then I clicked on the link and read through it. He really is a perfect fit for me this year as my husband just lost his job as a delivery driver for hostess and God called Matthew away from his income and riches of his job as a tax collector in order to give him heavenly treasures.
    It also touched my heart that Matthew was considered a traitor to his people but our Lord loved him and CHOSE him to be one of his Apostles.

  33. I found St. Francis of Assisi!

    Nothing like reading the quotes of these saints! :D

  34. I got St. Albert the Great. Never thought about him before. He seems like a really big brain, and I could really use one as I try to juggle my life as teacher and writer this year. Thanks for the suggestion!

  35. St. Mary of Egypt

    Already knew about her. Wonder if it’s a sign.
    Hope not.

  36. I picked St. John of Avila. Upon my re-entry into The Church in 2010, I had chosen St. Teresa of Avila as another patron, so I am looking forward to knowing St. John better!

  37. St. Francis Xavier Cabrini!

    A perfect fit since I have resolved to work on me being charitable this year especially in my thoughts. What better a patroness to help me along than this dear Saint who was not only wholly devoted with her entire being to the Sacred Heart of Jesus but charity personified!

    God reward you, Micah, for providing this “service”, and thanks be to God for leading me here! I would have never thought of St. Francis Cabrini for myself. I said a fervent prayer before I clicked on “Draw a Saint”.

  38. Saint Nicholas Owen ? I wonder what we have in common; time will tell.

  39. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

  40. St. Francis de Sales! Great and his feast is on my husnand’s and my anniversary: January 24! Happy New Year! And thank you!

  41. St. Patrick and husband got St. Columba.

  42. St. Charbel Malouf

  43. I drew Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich. I recently downloaded some of her books — now I have more incentive to read them!

  44. I was gifted St. Rita of Cascia…patron of the Impossible…I have been planning a pilgrimage on the Camino de santiago and I suffer from Arthritis. Doing 100km is impossible with help for me.

  45. Cool! I drew St Clare of Assisi, pretty interesting, when she was sick and stayed in her chamber, an image of the Mass would appear on her wall so she’s the patron Saint of Television and Television writers

  46. I got St Charles Lwanga and companions. Awesome martyrdom (burned alive and only the words “O God” repeated over & over). Exuberant celebration of Mass in Uganda on their feastday. They will be my saints for the year!

  47. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Wow. That’s perfect. If I take it seriously it will reverse all of my messed-up fallenness!

  48. St. Albert the Great here. Considering I’ m a priest and a teacher, I couldn’t help but to think how appropriate this is. An aside: we had Religious Teachers Filippini in our parish school, and the students would pick a holy card out of a box on the first day back after the New Year with a virtue of that saint printed on the back, and we had to work on that virtue during the year

  49. I drew St. Hildegard of Bingen with the addition of the word “creativity”

  50. my former Community in the U.K. did this, we called the cards Crib cards as they were in a basket by the large crib in our chapel. We got the idea from another Community. As well as the name of the saint there would be an attribute of the Saint for which one was to strive and for which your new patron would help you attain. e.g. Our Lady – a listening heart ; St John of the Cross – humility ; St Felicity – Endurance ; St Dunstan – trust in God.

  51. I got Saint Martin of Tours!

  52. I drew St. Anthony of the Desert!

    • So far that’s two of us who got St. Anthony….I rathervwanted a saint that I had heard of, but, this challenges me to read up on him…already I have invoked him to be more faithful in my prayer life….as a hermit, that was primary in his life…..

  53. I got the name of my confirmation saint, theresa of avila, so I already know something about her. Maybe I should pick again?

    • The idea is that the saint picks you. It’s no infallible practice, but there have been some interesting “coincidences.” We drew on for my still-in-utero son last year, St. Maximilian Kolbe. A week later, he was born the same day as the saint.

      I’d suggest sticking with St. Teresa, reading some of her books, praying to her throughout the year, etc.

  54. Thanks Micah Awesome idea to share with us.
    I got St Jude the Apostle.
    I often due the novena to him.
    I’m looking forward to doing more research about him.
    Thanks again

  55. I got St. Lucy of Rome, I remember the ‘eyes on a platter’ from a painting. St. Lucy deserves a better remembrance than that!

    • “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!”

  56. Thank you for posting this idea! When I lived at Madonna House, a community of consecrated latiy in Ontario, we followed this tradition, except that we chose saints on All Saints Day. I think it’s a wonderful grace to do it a the beginning of the New Year.

  57. I got St. Isaac Jogues. Nice way to learn more about the saints. Thanks

  58. This isn’t just a monastic tradition; it’s a general tradition that was once widespread in the West. Eamon Duffy writes about it for late medieval England in his book “The Stripping of the Altars;” and I believe that Maria von Trapp mentions it as a custom practiced in her family, in her book “Around the Year with the Trapp Family.” And yet, despite my knowledge of this tradition, I have never practiced it. Time to get off my butt.

  59. I pulled St. Gabriel the Archangel. Woo-hoo! Great to help me with my preaching skills. St. Gabriel, pray for us!

  60. St John of the Cross, thank you for the nudge… I’ve been meaning to read your book that’s been on my nightstand for ages…

  61. I thought this was such a great idea…until I was “chosen” by St. Cyprian of Antioch. I’m perplexed. I read what scant information is available on him and I have to say I am unsure how to pray for this saint’s intercession – I can’t seem to find what he is patron of. If anyone can shed some light on this for me I’d be appreciative, indeed.

      • Thank you. Yesterday he spooked me. After some reflection, I see how receiving him as a patron saint for the year is a blessing. Oddly enough, I have been praying for the deliverance of an acquaintance’s parent who is involved in witchcraft. I now have a new friend to help.


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