Unsurprisingly, saints whose names begin with the letters X, Y or Z are few and far between, and fewer still have made any significant impact on the public consciousness.
Here, then, is a quick rundown of some of the more notable ones…
St Xanthippe/Xantippa (died late 1st century)
An alleged disciple of Paul who died in Spain; her devotions were frustrated by her husband who locked her up and threw Paul out, but she prayed he would fall asleep and bribed the porter to release her.
Memorial day: 23 September
St Frances Xavier (1850-1917)
A Basque nobleman, he embarked on an academic career but was persuaded by St Ignatius of Loyola to spread the Gospel, and became the first Jesuit missionary. He is said to have baptized more than 40,000 people in India, Japan and the East Indies.
Memorial day: 3 December
Sts Thomas Xico and Peter Xukexico (d.1597)
These were two of the 26 ‘Nagasaki Martyrs’, a group of missionaries and their converts in japan who had an ear cut off and were then crucified for refusing to renounce their faith. Xico was a pharmacist with an angry nature, calmed on becoming a Franciscan; Xukexico was arrested for ministering to other imprisoned Christians.
Memorial: 6 February
St Yriex (c.510-591)
Perhaps the most unpronouneable saint, also known more conveniently as Aredius – he was a Frenchman converted after a dissolute youth, and a dove hovered above his head for 30 days. Several regions of France are named after him.
Memorial day: 25 August
St Yves of Kermartin (1253-1303)
This Breton nobleman became a lawyer noted for defending the poor free of charge, also known for his asceticism. In later life he became a preacher and founded a hospital. He was also said to have performed a miracle by feeding hundreds with a loaf of bread.
Memorial day: 19 May
Patronage: lawyers and judges
St Joseph Yuen (1765-1817)
A Vietnamese priest, Yuen was imprisoned for a year and then murdered by strangulation. He is one of the ‘Martyrs of China’ canonized by Pope John Paul II.
Memorial day: 24 June (28 September as a Martyr of China)
St Anthony Zaccaria (1502-1539)
Legends say that angels attended the altar at Italian nobleman Zaccaria’s first mass. He was a doctor and moral reformer. He died of natural causes, shortly after receiving a vision of St Paul.
Memorial day: 5 July
St Zenobius (d.417)
Zenobius was a Florentine pagan baptized as an adult, who went on to become Bishop of Florence. He is known for many miracles, including bringing five people back to life after they had died. The tower in the city where he is said to have lived is still decorated with flowers each year.
Memorial day: 25 May
St Zita (1218-1272)
Zita was from Lucca, Italy, and became a domestic servant at the age of 12, which she remained until her death. She often gave her own or her master’s food to the poor.
Memorial day: 27 April
Patronage: housemaids, lost keys, waiters and waitresses.