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Advent is a beautiful and prayerful time to prepare for the coming of Our Lord at Christmas. As we anticipate the birth of Jesus, we can look towards these 8 Advent Catholic saints to imitate. We can become more holy by learning about the lives of the saints with our families all through Advent. There are many amazing saints to celebrate during Advent. There are even 3 feasts in honor of Our Lady during advent! Today, I will share ideas and traditions for celebrating the following Advent Catholic saints:

  1. St. Andrew
  2. St. Nicholas
  3. St. Ambrose
  4. Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
  5. St. Juan Diego
  6. Our Lady of Guadalupe
  7. Our Lady of Loreto
  8. St. Lucy

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St. Andrew – November 30

Who is St. Andrew?

Advent officially starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This will also be the Sunday that falls closest to November 30 which is the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. St. Andrew was a fisherman, and possibly the elder brother of St. Peter. He was also a devoted follower of St. John the Baptist. He stayed close to Christ his entire life from when Jesus called to him on the banks of the Jordan to when Jesus fed the 5000 with the loaves and fishes. St. Andrew brought the faith to Scythia and Greece, and was martyred on a cross. He stayed alive for 2 days preaching from the cross. His feast day is November 30.

How to celebrate

November 30th is also the start of the St. Andrew Novena. This is a beautiful prayer and devotion, so be sure to pick a special intention to pray for and begin praying on November 30th until Christmas Eve. Here is a beautiful DIY chaplet to  help you keep track as you pray.

Patron of:

St. Nicholas – December 6

Who is St. Nicholas?

St. Nicholas is an easy saint to integrate into your Advent traditions if you don’t already celebrate his feast day! It is important to teach our children about the real and holy man who is now a saint.

St. Nicholas was the archbishop of Myra in the 4th century. His parents died when he was young, and he lived a humble life. St. Nicholas was a very generous and charitable man. There are many miracles and legends documented about his life. One such story is that three daughters of a poor man did not have enough dowery to be married. When he heard this, St. Nicholas secretly threw sacks of gold (1 for each daughter) through their window so that the daughters could marry.

How to celebrate

Have your children put their shoes by your fireplace or front door on the night of December 5th and read them the story of Saint Nicholas or watch a youtube video about him. Leave them treats such as chocolate coins (Trader Joe’s usually has them), candy canes, and oranges. This is a huge feast day in Germany and teaches children that Saint Nicholas was a real and holy person!

Another way to celebrate this generous saint is to practice almsgiving or sacrifice by asking your children to donate toys that they no longer play with or take them to purchase a gift for a child in need to donate to your parish gift drive or other organization.

Patron of:

We read this book about lots of Saint Nicholas stories every year:

854346: The Legend of Saint Nicholas The Legend of Saint Nicholas
By Anselm GrunA German Benedictine whose books have been translated into 30 languages retells stories about Nicholas’s generosity—how he ended a famine by multiplying grain from a merchant ship; walked on water to rescue sailors from a terrible storm; gave away his inheritance to prevent a desperate man from selling his daughters into slavery. 26 pages, hardcover. Eerdmans.

St. Ambrose – December 7th

Who is St. Ambrose?

St. Ambrose is a Doctor of the Church. The Arian heresies were running rampant during his time as governor. Before being baptized, it was revealed that he should become bishop of Milan. He was immediately baptized and consecrated, and served as a charitable and gentle shepherd of his flock. He was good friends with St. Monica and brought her son, St. Augustine, into the church.

How to celebrate

A snack or dessert with honey would be perfect for celebrating St. Ambrose. You could also make some candles out of beeswax!

Patron of:

Saint Ambrose is included in the beautiful “Illustrated Book of Saints”:

9427332: Illustrated Book of Saints Illustrated Book of Saints
By Rev. Thomas J. DonaghyIllustrated Book of Saints from Catholic Book Publishing presents the stories of more than eighty of the most popular saints loved by Catholics. This volume provides a variety of saintly role models from different cultures and time periods that children can imitate. The vivid illustrations help to capture the heart and soul of the saint. A prayer is provided for each saint that can help kids strive for the virtue that saint exemplifies.

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – December 8

What is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception?

This feast day is also a Holy Day of Obligation so be sure to attend Mass.

This feast day is confusing to many people including Catholics! This Holy Day of Obligation celebrates when the Blessed Virgin Mary’s parent’s (St. Ann and St. Joachim) conceived Mary. Mary was conceived without original sin. So, it has nothing to do with Jesus’s conception – it’s all about our beautiful,
Immaculate Mother Mary!

How to celebrate

To celebrate, attend Mass as a family. Your children may also like to color this coloring page that is very helpful in explaining this feast day.

You may also want to read a story about St. Bernadette. When she asked Our Lady who she was, Mary replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” This was amazing at the time because St. Bernadette didn’t even know what that meant and it wasn’t yet approved as a dogma of the church. It convinced people that St. Bernadette was telling the truth about seeing Our Blessed Mother.

The Immaculate Conception was declared a dogma of the church on December 8, 1854.

St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe – December 9 and 12

Who are St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe?

I combined these two feast days because they go hand in hand, and it is appropriate that they fall within days of each other.

In the 16th century in what is now Mexico City, Mexico, Our Blessed Mother appeared to Juan Diego. She referred to herself as Our Lady of Guadalupe. She asked him to ask the bishop to build a chapel in her honor on Tepeyac Hill.

He went to the bishop and the bishop asked for a sign that Juan Diego was telling the truth. Then, Juan Diego’s uncle fell ill. He rushed to find a priest to anoint his uncle and hear his last Confession.

On the way, Our Lady met Juan Diego and asked him about the chapel again. He said he told her that the bishop needed a sign, and right now he was in a rush to bring a priest to his uncle. She directed him to a miraculous rose bush that was blooming, told him to bring the roses to the bishop, and not to worry about his uncle. She said he would be healed.

He gathered the roses in his tilma, and went to the bishop. When he dropped the front of his tilma to reveal the roses, another miracle occurred. His tilma suddenly had an exquisite image of Our Lady as she had appeared to Juan Diego. The chapel was built. and million of Mexican people were converted. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe at that site is now the most visited Catholic shrine in the world.

How to celebrate

To celebrate this feast day, bring roses to Our Lady – either to your statue at home or at your parish.

Have Mexican food for dinner and/or Mexican hot chocolate for dessert to celebrate this feast day!

Here is an adorable video for children on Formed, and the book below is a wonderful telling of the story.

Patroness/Patron of:

423905: Our Lady of Guadalupe Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Loreto – December 10

What is the Holy House of Loreto?

The Holy House of Loreto is a miraculous story. The House of Loreto is the house where Our Blessed Mother grew up in Nazareth. It is also where the Angel Gabriel appeared to tell her that she would be the Mother of God, and where the Holy Family lived for a number of years.

The house was revered by many Christians through the years, and St. Helena (more on St. Helena here) had a basilica built on the site over the house.

Around 1291, the house appeared in Loreto, Italy! Some say that Angels carried the house to Croatia and then Italy to protect it during the Crusaded. Some say the Ageli family transported the house. In any case, archeologists have confirmed that the  stone is indeed from Palestine. They also observed the same graffiti found on the remains of the basilica that St. Helena has built.

Thus, Our Lady of Loreto is a title for the Blessed Virgin Mary that does not refer to an apparition, but rather a miracle associated with the Holy House where she and the Holy Family resided.

How to celebrate

Pray the Litany of Loreto. Check out this picture book.

Many families build their gingerbread houses on this feast day to celebrate!

Patron of:

St. Lucy – December 13

Catholic Saint Lucy Buns

Who is St. Lucy?

St. Lucy was a virgin and a martyr. She took her ill mother to the tomb of St. Agatha in hopes that her mother would be healed. St. Agatha appeared to St. Lucy and predicted her mother’s full recovery as well as St. Lucy’s martyrdom.

St. Lucy’s mother was healed, and St. Lucy suffered at the hands of a wicked man who wished to marry her. Since she had consecrated her virginity to Jesus Christ, he attempted to burn her at the stake. However, the fire did not harm her. Finally, she was stabbed with a sword and her martyr crown was received.

Other stories tell that the governor, Paschasius, threatened to have her eyes gouged out. St. Lucy is usually seen holding her two eyes on a plate or platter.

How to celebrate

St. Lucy’s name (Lucia in Italian) means “light.” Travel around looking at Christmas lights to celebrate her feast day! Or, only decorate your Christmas tree with lights and save the ornaments for Christmas Eve.

You can also bake St. Lucy buns and read the beautiful story book, “Lucia Morning is Sweden” for her feast. The book contains recipes, sheet music, and costume patterns to create your own St. Lucy costume! Traditionally, the eldest daughter of the family dresses as St. Lucy (complete with Lucia Crown), and serves her parents coffee and St. Lucy buns in bed for breakfast!

Patron of:

Advent Catholic Saints to Celebrate

That concludes my round up of 8 of our family’s favorite Advent saints! Do you have any favorites? Please let me know in the comments!

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