Many witches don’t want there to be any cross-over between their witchcraft practice and mainstream religion such as Catholicism (and vice versa), so they avoid working with Saints entirely and shy away from these powerful spiritual allies. When it comes to working with Saints, though, there’s really no need to be concerned with religious overlap at all. Saints are for everyone. There are people from every walk of life who have acquired Sainthood whether or not the term “Saint” is formally applied to them. “Saint” just means sanctified, and it isn’t a term bound to any one religion though many associate it with Christianity.
All of the people who hold the title of Saint have demonstrated that they will still work for all of us from beyond the grave (“dead and “still working miracles” are the two requirements to actually be a Saint). Saints are the specific spirits of people who lived on this earth at various times in history, they are not simply energy currents to tap into. Some of them were not even good people while alive (yes, there is a patron saint of murderers). Instead of moving on entirely after death they stick around and offer assistance to the living. This is a cross-cultural reality. When you petition a Saint you are petitioning a powerful dead person who is not limited in their workings by death. And they enjoy helping us out, which is why they stick around and do so.
No matter how devout some of them were in life, in death, Saints are not at all stingy with their miracle workings. They don’t care who it is that calls on them or what that person’s religion is. If you need sincere assistance and they hear your call to them, they will help.
As witches, we have our own patron saints. Saint Cyprian protects magickal workers and will help with pretty much anything, even the most mundane issue, he is quite generous. In life he was a converted pagan magician who burned all his books on the occult and renounced sorcery when he converted to Christianity. In his folklore he was known to have commanded a host of demons who served as his personal army before conversion. The Catholic Church tradition credits him with some of their exorcism prayers and he can be invoked to banish dangerous spirits. After his death he regretted his renunciation of sorcery and provided us with a book containing his collection of magick spells, which he dictated to German monk Jonas Sulfurino. This book is called The Book of San Cipriano. He will often assist us in our magickal workings from beyond the grave.
Saint Cyprian’s colors are brown and purple, his plant correspondence is starwort, and his feast day is September 26th.
Marie Laveau of the Voodoo tradition is an unofficial but quite popular Saint who is known to be just as generous with her workings in death as she was in life (for people of all walks of life) and is also the matron of magickal workers, especially Voodoo practitioners, and psychics. Her colors are pink, white and blue.
Saint Comba is a Spanish Saint who was also once a witch, and will respond to the needs of witches and protect against malevolent magick. La Madama, from the Puerto Rican Espiritismo tradition, is the matron of psychics, mediums, and healers. Her colors are red and white. Albertus Magnus is the Roman Catholic patron saint of metaphysicians, occultists and alchemists, among others, and he is the founder of planetary magic. His feast day is November 15th.
You can have more than one patron saint and you can work with any variety of saints for any variety of purposes for which the saints are patrons. There are saints who are known to help with specific illnesses and conditions, saints who are patrons of animals, and saints who are patrons of work and vocation, specific causes, needs, hobbies, locations, and more. Some saints are “all purpose.” One of my matrons is Mary MacKillop, who protects sex abuse victims, especially children (this is one of the causes I work for, that is close to my heart, in my own life).
When petitioning a Saint it is good to know who they are, whether or not they are the patron or matron of what you are asking for, and what they accept as offerings. Many Saints will take an act of generosity and good deeds towards others as payment. Some have specific flowers, foods, and so on that they enjoy as well. Always give an appropriate offering when a petition is fulfilled.
Placing a glass of water out on an altar or dedicated space, lighting either a white candle or a candle in the Saint’s sacred color, and asking for what you need from your heart is a simple way to petition. If you have an icon or image of the Saint, you can use that as well, just know that it is a focus point and representation, not where their spirit resides.
It’s customary to wait until the petition has been granted to give an offering to the Saint you have petitioned to work for you. Pay attention to the subtle ways they may communicate to you, whether in dreams or with other daily signs. In cases of devotion, giving offerings on a regular basis is customary.
One of the best resources I can recommend on getting to know the Saints is the “Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints and Sages” by Judika Illes. It’s fairly comprehensive and easy to use, and a wonderful introduction to working with the Saints.