Monday, August 3, 2009

Saint Theresa: Protector for Aviators

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett

A couple years ago I took a person for a ride in my Cherokee Warrior II. Fr. Joel Alamen from California wanted to visit an Alaskan Mission. He stayed a few days and we ended up flying to Illiamna for mass one day. After the flight Fr. Joel said, “I don’t see anything religious in this plane, you should get something!”

During my last annual aircraft inspection I had my A&P mechanic Larry Tibbitts, of Tibbitts Airmotive in King Salmon, mount a small statue of Saint Theresa on the dash board of the airplane. I don’t know if he had to do a “weight and balance” to account for the new weight of not?

I ended up doing some research and found that Saint Theresa, our patroness for the Archdiocese of Anchorage was also a patron saint for air travelers. Among other saints for aviators are Our Lady of Loreto and Joseph of Cupertino.

Saint Theresa is known as Theresa of Lisieux, Theresa of the Infant Jesus, and Little Flower of Jesus. Although she is not the premier authority on airline safety, she is tagged with being a protector of aviators.

Patron saints are people chosen as special guardians, protector, or supporters. Here are a few special causes that are attributed to Saint Theresa:

Aviators; Air crews; aircraft pilots; Spanish air crews; Belgian air crews; missionaries; foreign missions; Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska; Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska; diocese of Juneau, Alaska; black missions; flower growers; AIDS sufferers; illness; loss of parents; sick people; tuberculosis

I usually file a flight plan with one person on board, me. One of the controllers in the Flight Service Station at the Dillingham airport always teases me about my co-pilot. When I radio in he asks me, “How many on board did you say you had?” That statue of Saint Theresa reminds me that I am not the only one on-board the aircraft.

You do not know how many times I have been a bit worried or stressed about the terrible weather while flying along and gazed up and looked at that statue. It instantly brings a calm over me. I realize that I am not always in total control and that someone else is looking out for me as well, i.e. God.

For more info about Saint Theresa CLICK HERE.

For another source of info CLICK HERE.

Why Patron Saint of Aviators: CLICK HERE.

Safe flying out there!


Ben D. Kennedy said...

Thanks for the insight about St. Theresa as I am also a pilot. You might enjoy some pictures I have posted of St. Therese dressed as St. Joan of Arc:
St. Therese and St. Joan of Arc

Holy Rosary Mission said...

Thank you for checking out my web page. I will check yours out! Fr. Scott

Maureen O'Riordan said...

Dear Father Scott,

Thank you for this reflection on St. Therese as patron of aviators; I believe that she is also patron of the mission in Alaska. For videos, photos, and articles about her and her parents, Blessed Zelie and Louis Martin, please visit my Web site at

Thank you.

Maureen O'Riordan