President Trump’s order to implement stricter vetting on refugees and lower the cap for the number of refugees who can enter the United States has received criticism from many Catholic bishops and leaders throughout the country, who believe the move will only hurt innocent people fleeing war and terror.

“Halting admissions of refugees for 90 or 120 days may not seem like a long time. But for a family fleeing a war-torn nation, or the violence of drug cartels, or warlords who force even children into armies — this could mean the difference between life and death…” wrote Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles about the order.

Besides calling our legislators and donating to Catholic Charities and other services that aid refugees, one thing we can do for our brothers and sisters in need is to pray for them.


Here are two saints that the Church recognizes as patron saints of refugees and immigrants that we can ask to intercede for those affected by the order.

St.  Alban

St. Alban was the first martyr of England, thought to be killed somewhere between the early 200s – 300s.

Like many early saints, there is much to debate about the exact dates of St. Alban’s life and death, or the historicity of the exact details of his death, but he is remembered by the Church as a martyr.

Legend has it that St. Alban lived in Britain during the time of Roman rule, when Christians were persecuted. One day Alban, not yet a Christian, met a Catholic priest fleeing persecution, and offered to shelter him in his home. Over the course of his stay, the priest inspired Alban with his holiness and piety, and he converted to Christianity.

Eventually, word reached the authorities that a priest was being housed with Alban. When they came to take the priest away, Alban swapped clothes with the priest, presenting himself for capture.


When Alban was brought before the judge, he was asked to denounce his faith and worship the pagan gods. Even after being whipped, he still refused, and the judge ordered his beheading.

As he was being led to his execution, a crowd had gathered to watch the saint being led to martyrdom, blocking a bridge over the river to the execution site. Wanting his martyrdom to come quickly, Alban raised his eyes to heaven, and God dried up the river bed so that the execution party could cross. Upon seeing the miracle, one of the would-be executioners also converted, threw down his sword, and offered to even take the place of Alban.

Once the execution party came to the final hill, Alban thirsted, and immediately a spring of water sprung up beneath his feet. He was executed on this spot, along with the converted executioner.

St. Alban is the patron saint of refugees, and his feast day is celebrated June 22.

St. Frances Cabrini 

Although she was originally from Italy, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first U.S. citizen to be canonized a saint.

Francesca Cabrini was born in Italy near Milan in 1850, the youngest of thirteen children. From a very young age, she dreamed of being a missionary in China. Because of her frail health, she was not accepted to join the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, but instead was able to found the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In the 1880s, Frances and her sisters traveled to Rome to ask for the Pope’s permission to be missionary sisters in China. But Pope Leo XIII told Frances to go “not to the East, but to the West” – to New York rather than to China, in order to help the thousands of Italian immigrants that were moving to the United States.

Frances obeyed, and traveled to New York City in 1889, where she and her sisters organized catechesis classes and schools for immigrant families, and founded hospitals and orphanages. They soon traveled all over the United States and beyond, following immigrant families and founding institutions to assist them in whatever way they could, but especially in keeping their Catholic faith.

“I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him or have forgotten Him,” she once said.

In 1909, Frances became a naturalized citizen of the United States. She passed away eight years later at the age of 67, due to complications from dysentery at one of her own hospitals in Chicago, Illinois.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was beatified on November 13, 1938, by Pope Pius XI and canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 7, 1946, making her the first United States citizen to be canonized.

Her feast day is celebrated on November 13 and she is the patron saint of immigrants.