What is a patroness?

What is a patroness? Here are some definitions.

Noun
  1. A woman who sponsors or supports a given activity, person etc.; a female patron.
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She ends up as a patroness of the arts because she enjoys posing for a nude statue.
Even before the death of their patroness the glories of the troubadours were fading.
The decorous sentimental verses written by patroness and client during such visits hint at a platonic salon flirtation.
By the way, Allison, did you get any patroness to sponsor dear Cecilia?
His wife, meanwhile, became dresser to their old patroness, the Queen-Dowager, Henrietta-Maria.
One was below a picture of Saint Maria Goretti, the patroness of young women and wayward teens.

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