Saint Jude, “Helper of the Hopeless”, is one of the most invoked saints of our century. He is the saint of the impossible, and it is said that he never fails to bring relief to those in desperate need. We turn to Saint Jude when all else fails. The flame of the Holy Spirit always burns over his head. He is a powerful presence, ever ready to step in and take control of a desperate situation. Because he was ever faithful to Christ and with him at the very beginning, he is in an especially exalted state of grace and can easily negate all common trials and tribulations.
Jude Thaddeus was one of the original Twelve Apostles. Brother of James the Lesser and a cousin of Jesus, he grew up with Christ and played with him as a child. He is venerated in France and in Rome, where his relics are located; but devotion to Saint Jude all but disappeared in the Middle Ages. Because he was often confused with Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Christ, no one ever invoked Saint Jude for anything. This is why he became the saint of the impossible. In order to have people invoke him, he helped those in the most difficult circumstances. When a request is granted, the person praying must publish his thanks to Saint Jude. This way, more people will know to call on him. Daily and weekly newspapers are filled with small ads thanking him for his intercession.
In his time, Saint Jude Thaddeus was known for his greatness of heart. It is said that he was so kindly and spiritual in nature, he glowed. He traveled through Edessa, Mesopotamia, and Pontus preaching Christianity. Abgar, the king of Edessa, was quite impressed with him. Since this king suffered from leprosy, he was anxious to meet Jesus so that he might be cured. He invited Jesus to come and share his kingdom. When he was told that this was not possible, he commissioned an artist to draw Christ’s portrait. The artist was so intimidated by the glow in Christ’s eyes, he could not draw. Christ took a linen cloth and impressed it on his own face. His image came off on it, perfectly rendered. Saint Jude took this portrait back to King Abgar, who rubbed it on his body and was cured of his leprosy. This is the large image that Saint Jude wears around his neck in art.
Saint Jude is associated with Saint Simon, with whom he traveled to Persia. They were subjects of great curiosity and popularity among the people of the places they traveled. They frequently outwitted court magicians and priests, to the amusement of the local kings. Invited to have their losing antagonists executed, as was the custom of the day, the two apostles forbade this, saying they had been sent not to kill the living but to bring the dead back to life. Ultimately, Saint Simon and Saint Jude were martyred in the city of Samir after enraging the local priests. Saint Jude was beaten to death with a club. This is the staff he is always shown with in art.
Feast Day shared with Saint Simon: October 28
Patron saint of: Impossible Causes
Novena Prayer to Saint Jude
Glorious apostle, Saint Jude Thaddeus, I salute you through the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through his heart I praise and thank God for all the graces he has bestowed upon you. I implore you, through his love, to look upon me with compassion. Do not despise my poor prayer. Do not let my trust be confounded! God has granted to you the privilege of aiding mankind in the most desperate cases. Oh, come to my aid that I may praise the mercies of God! All my life I will be your grateful client until I can thank you in heaven. Amen.
(Mention your request.)
Saint Jude, pray for us, and for all who invoke your aid.
Say this novena nine times in a row for nine days in a row.
Your request will be granted by the eighth day. Publication of thanks to Saint Jude must be promised.
Excerpted from the book “Novena: The Power of Prayer” by Barbara Calamari and Sandra DiPasqua