Wings symbolize spiritual elevation. If the statue of an angel carries nothing, it is regarded as a guardian angel.
Saints are usually depicted with wings; however, they can also be represented by animals. The selection of a statue usually refers to the attributes of the Saint. For example:
ST. FRANCIS is the Patron Saint of animals. He is pictured feeding birds or accompanied by a wolf and a lamb.
ST. JOHN is depicted as a winged eagle. Other depictions show him blessing a chalice containing serpents or a snake.
ST. LUKE, the physician, is pictured as a winged ox.
ST. MARK, a winged man holding a book, is also represented as a winged lion, one of the four living creatures symbolizing the power of the Evangelist’s word (the lion symbol holds St. Mark’s Gospel under a front paw.)
ST. MATTHEW is depicted holding scales – it was his duty to weigh the souls of the departed on the last day.
ST. MICHAEL, the angelic warrior combating evil, bears a sword.
ARCHANGEL GABRIEL is a divine messenger from God who heralds his presence with a horn.