What are patron saints?

Famous quotes containing the words patron and/or saints:

    As polishing expresses the vein in marble, and grain in wood, so music brings out what of heroic lurks anywhere. The hero is the sole patron of music.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Its imaginary value will increase with the years, and if he [his grandson-in-law] lives to my age, or another half century, he may see it carried in the procession of our nation’s birthday, as the relics of the saints are in those of the church.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)