Our Board of Patrons

In addition to our board of directors, Catholic Conscience is blessed to claim the guidance and protection of a remarkable board of patron saints. Beginning with the Most Gentle Shepherd, each of our patrons offers unique forms of wisdom.

The Good Shepherd

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

“A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” (John, Chapter 10)

Our goal at Catholic Conscience is to help the sheep – ourselves included – to recognize His voice, whenever and wherever He calls, so that we can avoid the hired men, the thieves, and the wolves, and come together safely through the gate with Him.

The Blessed Virgin Mary

When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John, Chapter 2)

For reasons which should be obvious, Catholic Conscience is consecrated to Mary, Seat of Wisdom and Mother of the Most Gentle Shepherd, and entrusted to her Immaculate Heart.

Saint Joseph
Patron of families, workers, Canada and the Church

A quiet man who tended his business faithfully while watching over others, Joseph was trusted by God to care for God’s own Son. Joseph accepted bewildering and troubling invitation to serve God wholeheartedly, leading his family away from danger and never seeking the limelight.

Head of the Holy Family, you watch over workers, families, and all who need protection. Watch over us and pray for us!


Saint Teresa Benedicta
of the Cross
The Search for Truth

Saint Benedicta of the Cross was born Edith Stein in Breslau, Germany on Yom Kippur of the year 1891, the youngest of 11 children.  From earliest childhood, she felt drawn to the search for truth.  Although raised in a devout Jewish home, she consciously chose to stop praying while young, and turned instead to philosophical studies at the University at Breslau.  Her studies were interrupted by the first world war, during which she served briefly as nurse in a field hospital. 

One day after she resumed her studies, she saw a woman go into the Frankfurt Cathedral with a shopping basket to pray.  Her response was profound:  “This was something totally new to me,” she wrote.  “In the synagogues and Protestant churches I had visited people simply went to the services. Here, however, I saw someone coming straight from the busy marketplace into this empty church, as if she was going to have an intimate conversation. It was something I never forgot.” With encouragement from friends, she began to study Christianity. 

Her conversion was confirmed at a Protestant friend’s house, where she picked up an autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila.  Having sat up all night reading it, she wrote, “I said to myself: This is the truth.”  Her enthusiasm was not shared by her Jewish colleagues or her family, however; and her mother eventually ceased writing to her.  But her failure to convert others only strengthed her own feeling of vocation: “Every time I feel my powerlessness and inability to influence people directly,” she wrote, “I become more keenly aware of the necessity of my own holocaust.”

Feeling drawn to religious life, and being barred from full participation in academic life as both a woman and a Jew, she made her way to the Carmelites, where she was joined by her sister Rosa.  After the burining of Synagogues and violence of the “Night of the Long Knives” on 9 November 1938,she was smuggled across the border into the Netherlands, to a sister Convent in Echt.  But eventually she was arrested by the Gestapo, while she was in the chapel.  The last words she was heard to speak in the convent were: “Come, Rosa, we are going for our people.”

Together with many other Jewish Christians, Edith and her sister Rosa perished in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.  Her great friend Prof. Jan Nota wrote later: “She is a witness to God’s presence in a world where God is absent.”

Edith left the following comment in her writings:  “During the time immediately before and quite some time after my conversion I … thought that leading a religious life meant giving up all earthly things and having one’s mind fixed on divine things only. Gradually, however, I learnt that other things are expected of us in this world… I even believe that the deeper someone is drawn to God, the more he has to `get beyond himself’ in this sense, that is, go into the world and carry divine life into it.”

Saint Teresa he is a model of devotion to the search for truth.

Saint Joan of Arc
Catholic Action

A 13-year-old girl living a normal farm life in rural France, St Joan of Arc was inspired by apparitions of the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria to leave her family and present herself to the King of France, Charles VII, in order to stir him into action to recover France from English domination during later portions of the Hundred Years’ War.  Once Charles recovered from his shock at receiving such exhortations from an uninvited, uneducated 13-year-old girl, he placed her at the head of his army and sent her to meet the English at Orléans. A swift series of victories under Joan’s guidance led to Charles’s confirmation as King, and ultimately to removal of the English from France. Joan herself was captured by the British, condemned by in a biased, English-controlled trial, and burned at the stake while holding a cross.

During her trial she repeatedly confounded her highly-educated accusers by her simple, inspired responses to complex theological questions designed to trap her and cast doubt on the truth of her apparitions. “About Jesus Christ and the Church,” for example, she said, “I simply know they’re just one thing and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.”

In 1456, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III overturned the trial and the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr.

Saint Joan of Arc, you gave your life entirely and unhesitantly to Christ.  Inspire us to action in the name of Christ!  Pray for us!

San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
Humility and Respect

San Juan Diego was one of the first North Americans to respond to the call of the Franciscans in Mexico. While walking nine miles through the mountains to Mass one day, he encountered “the perfect virgin Holy Mary, mother of the one great God of truth who gives us life, the inventor and creator of people.” Their exchanges culminated not only in presentation by this simple and respectful of roses and an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe formed on his cloak, and construction of a chapel, but also the greatest mass conversion in history.

Their exchanges were marked by a wonderful humility and respect, expressed by both parties.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Unity & Social Love

A young Mohawk woman, St Kateri Tekakwitha was one of a number of Native Americans influenced by Jesuit missionaries in New York state and Quebec. In turn, at least one of the Jesuits who came to know her acknowledged that close contact and her, and the deeper knowledge she brought to him her people changed some of his set notions about the people and about differences among human cultures.

St Kateri, who bridged widely divergent cultures in your search for truth, and in doing so instilled respect in others, pray for us!

Sainte Margerite Bourgeoys
Education and Solidarity

Born the 7th of 13 children in a small town in France, Sainte Margerite Bourgeoys was invited to Quebec by the Governor at Montreal for the purpose of starting what became Canada’s first school for the poor. Starting with a vacant stable, she worked arduously to recruit members for her new congregation, the Sisters of Notre Dame, so that she could build more schools while chaperoning orphan girls sent to New France to help build a nation. In addition to day schools, she founded vocational schools to teach women practical working skills.

As the turn of the 18th century approached, a younger member of the Congregation fell ill. Sister Margerite, now nearly 80, prayed that she might be allowed to offer her life for the younger Sister. When she fell gravely ill shortly after the recovery of the younger nun, few were surprised.

Devotions began immediately. The convent held an open visitation for public, and objects that she had touched became spiritual relics. She was buried in the manner of a saint, with her body being interred by the parish of Ville-Marie but her heart kept as a relic by the Congregation.

It took nearly three hundred years for the Church to catch up: she was officially canonized in 1982.

Saint André Bessette
Service and Solidarity

Born the 8th of 12 children in a small town in Québec, and orphaned by the time he was 12, Brother André Bessette was considered sickly and frail. Yet he persevered in schooling and in work, serving at one time or another as a, tinsmith, blacksmith, wheelwright, cobbler, baker, and textile worker, and developed such piety and devotion – to Christ and Saint Joseph – that when he was 22, his pastor, sent him to the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal with a note declaring that “I am sending you a saint.” Through diligence and hard work he made his final vows at the age of 28.

He was made porter at the Collège Notre-Dame in Côte-des-Neiges, Quebec, with duties as sacristan, laundry worker and messenger as well. “When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door, and I remained 40 years,” he said.

His great confidence in Saint Joseph inspired him to recommend the saint’s devotion to all who were afflicted, especially the poor and the many sick people he visited in their homes and elsewhere. People claimed that they had been cured through the prayers of the good Brother and Saint Joseph; but when they tried to share credit with Brother André as well, he firmly declined, repeating always, “go to Joseph.”

Saint Vincent de Paul
Personalism and Professional Social Organization

Within the Church, St. Vincent de Paul is famous as patron of charitable societies.  We invoke him also as patron of personalism and professional, effective organization: the example and intercessor we turn to root our work in the idea that the dignity of human life is an “indivisible good”, in the words of Saint Pope John Paul II, and the idea that working to advance the common good requires commitment to effectiveness, organization, and responsiveness to emerging needs. In the words of one commentator, the Vincentian question is “What must be done?” At Catholic Conscience, we work to equip active Catholic citizens with the formation and tools of discernment they need to answer that question, and serve their neighbours well.

St. Vincent de Paul lived his life as a response to the needs of the most vulnerable people of his time. A French priest working as a spiritual director and tutor in the family of a prominent, aristocratic family, he was shocked at the state of spiritual and material poverty facing those who lived on his patrons’ lands. He devoted his life to spiritual and corporal works of mercy, with extraordinary professionalism, creating effective and impactful organizations that still serve the poor to do this day.

In 1625 he founded the Congregation of the Mission, with the mission of preaching to and serving the rural poor and offering needed formation for priests. He also founded in Paris the Confraternities of Charity, associations of laywomen who visited, fed, and nursed the sick and vulnerable. He provided a previously unheard-of quality of care to orphans in the city, and founded hospitals. With St. Louise de Marillac, he cofounded the Daughters of Charity, an innovative association that was the first non-cloistered religious institute of women dedicated to the works of charity. This innovation meant that the Daughters of Charity could keep their works at the heart of their charism, offering a new leadership role for women in an otherwise deeply patriarchal social system.

For his zeal, effectiveness, and unswerving commitment to answering the contemporary challenges to human dignity in the culture around him, we turn to him as one of our patrons. 

During the 2020 provincial elections
in Saskatchewan, Archbishop Donald Bolen of the Archdiocese of Regina offered this prayer for use during elections:

Lord, father of our human family,
Your son Jesus taught us in the parable of the good Samaritan that each of us is called to care for our brothers and sisters without concern for our differences, or what divides us.
Pour your spirit out upon each and every one of us. Give us, and all involved in the forthcoming election,
– a spirit of humility to acknowledge our failures
– a spirit of gratitude for each of the gifts you have given us
– a spirit of wisdom, to guide our actions in accordance with your teaching
– a spirit of fraternity, so that we might have concern for the most vulnerable
– and a spirit of love, so that we might abide even more fully in You.

O God, Trinity of love, from the profound communion of your divine life grant each and every one of us a deeper sense of unity. Give to us a desire to sacrifice ourselves for our brothers and sisters. Help us to live like your family did, with simplicity in Nazareth, and as the early Christian community did, whose charity has spread throughout the world.

O Good Shepherd, Christ the King, you are our Guide. Continue to guide us then to your will in this, and in every moment of our lives.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Joan of Arc, pray for us.
San Juan Diego, pray for us.
St Keteri Tekakwitha, pray for us.
Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys, pray for us.
St André Bessette, pray for us.
St Vincent de Paul, pray for us.



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