Why we have patron saints at ACU

A message from Vice President Father Anthony Casamento csma:

You may have noticed that from time to time I post about our patron saints on Workplace. In fact, just recently I posted about St Thomas More, who is the patron saint of the ACU Thomas More Law School. Surprisingly, when I do post, I get a lot of enquiries from staff about who the patron saints are, what they do and what they have to do with ACU.

Put simply, the patron saints connected to our university form part of the rich Catholic identity of ACU. There are too many patron saints to mention in this brief reflection, but they include our campus patron saints such as St Thomas Aquinas of the Ballarat Campus, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop of North Sydney and St Patrick of Melbourne Campus. Some of the patron saints for our faculties and institutes include St Joseph the Worker for the Corporate Services directorate, St John Baptiste de la Salle for the Faculty of Education and Arts and St Hildegard of Bingen the patron of the Arts.

In the Catholic tradition, a saint is anyone in heaven. However, a person officially recognised as a saint through the formal process of canonisation is someone known for having lived a life of exceptional closeness (or holiness) to God.

A patron saint is someone recognised by the Church as a saint, who also has a connection to a place, a profession, or a particular need or intercession. For example, St Francis of Assisi is the patron of environmentalists, and St Matthew the Apostle (originally a tax collector) is the patron saint of accountants. The practice of recognising patron saints extends beyond the Catholic Church to the other Christian denominations including the Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches.

The practice of adopting patron saints dates to the building of the first public churches in the Roman Empire, most of which were built over the graves of martyrs. The churches were given the name of the martyr, who was then expected to act as an intercessor for the Christians who worshipped there. In this way, for example, St. Peter is the patron saint of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

In our Catholic tradition, the saints are also our brothers and sisters in faith who intercede for our intentions. They do not replace God, but through their prayers, help us to come closer to God. In the same way that you or I might ask a friend or a family member to pray for a special intention, praying to a patron saint is like asking a friend to pray to God on our behalf.

Next time you see posts on Workplace about a patron saint, I’d encourage you to think about their importance in the life of our university – maybe they are the patron saint for your work area!

The following slideshow controls change the content above and below. Information is displayed below the controls while video content plays above the video controls.

Service Central

Visit Service Central to access Corporate Services.

Other service contacts

Learning and Teaching
Request Something

Make a request for services provided by Corporate Services.

Request something
Knowledge base

Find answers to frequently asked questions 24/7.

See Knowledge Base