Who is the Patron Saint of Knitters?


Someone on one of the forums I haunt asked this question. Being extremely interested both in knitting and in religious history, it was necessary to immediately start a search. Some say that the patron saint is Fiacre. It seems he was the patron of cap makers, and when knitted caps were “invented”, Fiacre got the nod by default. An early guild for knitters was organized in Paris in 1527 was named The Guild of St. Fiacre. So who was this person with the strange name?

It is said that Fiachra, or Fiacre, traveled to France from Ireland, in search of a quiet place in which to withdraw from society and devote his life to God. The bishop of Meaux granted him a plot of land on which he built a hermitage with a garden and a hospice for travellers, which over time grew into the village of Saint-Fiacre in Seine-et-Marne. Fiacre was reknowned for his healing powers, both spiritual and physical, but women were never allowed into the hermitage, possibly because one uppity female said he practiced witchcraft. Those who attempted to transgress usually suffered consequences, as in the case of a lady who was instantly struck mad. I wonder how Fiacre would feel today about being the patron saint of a craft performed by so many women!

In addition to knitting, Fiacre is also patron of cab drivers and gardeners. French cabs are called fiacres because the first coach-for-hire enterprise in 17th century Paris was near a house named for him. Fiacre’s relics are still housed and visited in the cathedral at Meaux. I first heard this saint’s name at a local herb garden, Caprilands, which up until a few years ago, was internationally known. I even have a tiny statue of Fiacre in my own herb garden.

One of many miracle stories in Fiacre’s CV is that of a man whose genitals were sorely afflicted (I bet!) and, by making a wax model of his painful organ, which by custom would have been burned at the altar, was cured. Now there’s a picture! Did I mention that Fiacre is also the patron saint of STD’s? No lie!

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19 thoughts on “Who is the Patron Saint of Knitters?

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m totally fascinated by the stories of each of the saint and this was the perfect read. Thanks so much!!!!

  2. Thank you for this wonderful information. I was getting ready to adopt St. Jude for my knitting, but I really like this guy’s C.V. In fact, I’ll need to get a statue for my newly-hatched herb garden!

  3. LOL – that’s one colourful man! My sister used to have a landlord called Fiacre. I bet she won’t look at him in the same light, when I send a link to this post to her! LOL

  4. You are a Saint, no less!!! One day, I will blog about a saintly, knowledgeable man I came to know when I first moved to Ireland, called Fiachra. I am delighted to know that he is still watching over me, in a fashion…

  5. katknit says:

    Irene and teeweewonders,
    Not too many people refer to me as a saint! lol
    Interesting that this name and its variations are still in circulation.

  6. Kim of the Silver Needles of St. Therese of Lisieux Parish says:

    Thank you for the post. We started a knitting/crochet group at our church, St. Therese of Lisieux to make prayer shawls and pneumonia vests. I thought this morning that we should have a Saint to guide us. We light a candle and say a prayer to guide our hands as we create the gifts we make. Thank you for already doing the search. Now I have something to present to the group.
    God Bless,
    Kim

  7. eileencreedon says:

    thankyou. This is all so interesting! St. Brigid of ireland seemed like a perfect knitting patron saint..with her CLOAK….them again St. Rita seems perfect too.Saint Rita of Cascia, patron of seemingly impossible causes,abuse victims and the list goes on. THEN, Saint Rafqa is another patron of knitters, and a lovely story. Where we thought there were none, NOW there are four! thank you

  8. mamakass says:

    Haha, hagiography is probably my favorite study. I love to see all the combinations of things a certain saint is the patron of. It’s all really interesting. I hadn’t heard of this particular saint, but he’s a good one!

  9. Elsa says:

    I loved this post! Ok, here is a question who is the patron saint for crocheters/knitters? First love is crochet here, then I knit. Fiacre will be a favorite here.

  10. Barbara says:

    Well, along with St. Fiacre and the other saints spoken of here, I’d like to mention Ansgar, a Scandinavian missionary often called the “apostle of the North.” Born around AD 800, he is said to have had “a great deal of practical energy; he rebuked the idleness of the monks, demanded of his pupils that they should have some actual work at hand, and was often occupied in knitting, while praying. His enthusiasm and holy raptures were also singularly well-tempered by good common sense. To those who wished to extol his greatness and goodness by ascribing miracles to him, he said that the greatest miracle in his life would be, if God ever made a thoroughly pious man out of him. Most prominent, however, among the spiritual features of his character shines forth his unwavering faith in the final success of his cause and the never-failing patience with which this faith fortified his soul.” http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc4.i.ii.xxiv.html Sounds like a knitter or crocheter to me!

  11. I’ve been wondering all day who the patron saint of knitters is. Thanks for enlightening me! In my googling of the subject, I also discovered St. Rose of Lima. She isn’t the patron saint of knitters but seems to have spent quite a bit of her time (besides meditating and praying) knitting to help her family financially. I think I’ll take her as my own personal patron saint of knitting… I’d rather have her than someone who despised women!

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