November Novena App, Occupations: Saint Catherine of Alexandria, patron of Philosophers

290 – 305

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Feast Day: November 25

Patron of: Philosophers

Keywords: librarians, mechanics, millers, nurses, philosophers, potters, scholars, students, wheels, unmarried women

Symbols: crown, sword, martyrs palms, wheel

Quote: “If you are ruled by the mind you are king, if by the body you are a slave.”

Brilliant and beautiful, Catherine of Alexandria was a force to be reckoned with. While still in her teens she had mastered philosophy, several languages and medicine. Because of her clarity of mind, she had great poise and self-confidence. One of the Fourteen Heavenly Helpers, the people of the Middle Ages believed she was one of the most powerful of early saints and invoked her for everything. Definite in her beliefs, we call on her for help in our studies or before we begin a major project, as she will clearly guide us.

The daughter of a governor, Catherine lived in a sumptuous palace among beautiful objects and scientific wonders. It is said she told her mother that she refused to marry anyone who was not as brilliant or beautiful as herself. Her mother readily agreed, not realizing that Catherine had discovered Christianity in her philosophical studies and had vowed herself to Christ. While working in her palace she heard the screams of a group of Christians who were being tortured . for refusing to give up their faith. Catherine went straight to the Emperor Maxentius and demanded he stop this persecution. Charmed by Catherine’s beauty, he invited her to debate the leading philosophers in the region to see if she could be persuaded to abandon Christianity by reasonable arguments. Instead of these fifty great scholars winning over the young girl with their scholarly knowledge, Catherine converted them to Christianity. Enraged, the Emperor had all fifty of these great men burned in the public square.

The Emperor then tried to charm Catherine with promises of great riches if she would become his concubine. Reminding him of her promise to Christ, she refused and was instantly imprisoned. While Maxentius was away on a trip, his wife visited Catherine in prison aand Catherine converted her to Christianity along with her prison guards and the Captain of the Emperor’s Legion. Upon his return to Alexandria, Maxentius was outraged at what he regarded to be the betrayal of his wife and legion. He ordered Catherine to be killed by being rolled on a spiked wheel. Catherine was fastened to the giant wheel and just as it was about to be rolled, her straps broke and she was released as the wheel shattered into hundreds of pieces killing many in the crowd. Catherine was then beheaded by sword. According to legend, angels then transported her body to the top of Mount Sinai, where a monastery and church devoted to Saint Catherine still exists.

St. Catherine is always depicted with a wheel and she is the patron of any occupation that requires a wheel. During the Middle Ages St. Catherine was viewed as an exemplary example for unmarried women. Therefore, in France and England St. Catherines’s Day is celebrated by unmarried women asking for husbands.

Invoked: to find a husband

Explanation:
Spiked Wheel: her instrument of torture which broke
Sword: used to behead her
Palms: symbol of martyrdom

Novena to St. Catherine of Alexandria

Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of Saint Catherine of Alexandria in whose honor I make this novena, and following her example imitate, like her, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mention your request here.) Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us!

Amen.

Novena App

Feast of Saints Ann and Joaquin

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Feast Day: July 26

First Century B.C.

Patron of : Grandparents

Keywords: child rearing, childless people, fathers, family crisis, infertility, mothers, pregnancy

Quote: “O blessed couple, all the world is indebted to you, for it is by your means that it can offer to its Creator the most excellent gift possible, her who is worthy to be Mother of His only Son.” – St. John Damascene

Symbols: two white doves, meeting at the golden gate, teaching the Virgin Mary

Grandparents are the foundation of a family and we invoke Saints Joachim and Ann for strength in every sort of family crisis. As parents of the Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus Christ, they offer a vast array of earthly experiences relatable to every human being. Infertility, late parenthood, an unmarried pregnant daughter, a grandson who was imprisoned and executed, are all parts of their life together which they accepted with grace and dignity.

Joachim and Ann are important as moral examples rather than truthful historical figures. According to legend, Joachim and Ann were married twenty years and still had not conceived a child. Living in Nazareth they were upstanding citizens, always tithing one third of their income to the temple. After many years, their barrenness was considered a form of divine judgment and eventually their contribution to the temple was refused and they were ostracized by their community. In shame, Joachim went off to live with his shepherds. There he was visited by an angel who told him, that Ann was pregnant with a child named Mary who was to be dedicated to the Lord. He was to return home and find his wife, who would be waiting at the golden gate, the entrance to the city. Doing as he was told, his joyful reunion with Ann at the golden gate has become a famous image in art history.

Mary was raised according to the instructions of the angel, she was consecrated to the Lord at infancy and sent off to live in the temple, away from the world, at the age of three. Accepting this great sacrifice of giving up what is most cherished to God, Joachim and Ann acted out an almost impossible act of faith. Though Saint Ann was younger and lived much longer than her husband, she and Joachim are inseparable in sharing the important patronage of grandparents.

Explanation:
A rare image of Joachim as an older father, and his wife, Ann, instructing the Virgin Mary. They are divinely inspired by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Novena to Saints Joachim and Ann

Saints Joachim and Ann, grandparents of Jesus and parents of Mary, we seek your intercession. We beg you to direct all our actions to the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. Strengthen us when we are tempted, console us during our trials, help us when we are in need, be with us in life and in death.

O divine savior, we thank you for having chosen saint Joachim and Ann to be the parents of our Blessed Mother Mary and so to be your beloved grandparents. We place ourselves under their patronage this day. We recommend to them our families, our children, and our grandchildren. Keep them from all spiritual and physical harm. Grant that they may ever grow in greater love of God and others.

Saints Joachim and Ann, we have many great needs. We beg you to intercede for us before the throne of your divine grandson. All of us here have our special intentions, our own special needs, and we pray that through your intercession our prayers may be granted. Amen.

(Mention your request here)

Excerpted from the  Novena App

Saint Anthony of Padua, Novena App Situations: Lost Articles

1195 – 1231

“Saint Anthony, please come around, there’s something lost that must be found.”

Doctor of the Church

Feast Day: June 13

Patron of: Lisbon, Portugal, Padua, amputees, barren women, domestic animals, draftees, oppressed people, orphans, paupers, the poor, pregnant women, prisoners, sailors

Invoked for: finding a husband, finding lost articles

Invoked against: debt, shipwreck, starvation

Symbols: baby Jesus, book of Gospels, lily

Wonder and miracles are infused with every story of Saint Anthony. Though he has been dead for almost 800 years, he is still the most popular saint in the world and his statue is found in every Catholic Church. Saint Anthony is best known as the patron saint of lost articles but he is invoked for help in all life situations. In his own day he was called the “Wonder Worker’ and credited with the ability to stop the rain, raise the dead and reattach severed limbs. He was such a charismatic preacher that when a crowd of heretics in Rimini refused to listen to his preaching, the fish raised themselves out of the water to hear him.

Born Fernando de Bulhes in Lisbon, Portugal, he disappointed his noble family by rejecting his luxurious life and joining the Augustinian religious order. A scholar by nature, he read every book in the monastery, devoting his time to contemplative prayer. Eventually, he befriended a group of itinerant Franciscan monks and became fascinated with this new religious order. Much impressed by their dedication to simplicity, poverty and their belief in returning to the original words of Christ, he joined their ranks, changing his name to Anthony in honor of Saint Anthony of the Desert, the patron of their little church. Returning home from a failed missionary venture in Morocco, his ship was blown off course and he wound up in Messina, Sicily. A group of Franciscan friars insisted he go north with them for a great gathering of all Franciscans, with their founder Francis of Assisi.

Anthony remained in Italy and discovered his great gift of preaching when a superior ordered him to speak at an ordination, telling him to say whatever the holy spirit had infused into him. He astonished his audience, not only by his skills as an orator but by the depth of his knowledge. He was sent throughout northern Italy and southern France on evangelical preaching missions which gathered crowds in the tens of thousands. His popularity among the people increased as he used his position to get real changes enacted for their protection. While based in Padua, he observed the crushing power of debt upon the common people. At Anthony’s insistence, the local municipality enacted a law protecting those who could not pay their debts that is still enforced today.

Anthony exhausted himself preaching out in fields and in piazzas as there was not cathedral large enough to hold all who came to hear him. At the age of thirty six, his health began to fail him and a local Count donated a woodland retreat for his recovery. One morning the Count heard the sounds of a baby giggling and he looked out to see Anthony surrounded in light, playing with the baby Jesus. That Christ would choose to appear to one of his saints in such a vulnerable state is a testament to the loving and kind nature of Saint Anthony. Because he is depicted holding a baby, women having trouble conceiving invoke his aid. Being of Portuguese descent, Anthony’s feast day is very auspicious for marriages in Portugal and Brazil and in those cultures, he is known to assist women seeking a husband.

According to legend, Saint Anthony earned the title patron saint of lost articles when a novice borrowed his psalter and failed to return it. Saint Anthony prayed to get it back and the novice was visited by terrifying visions that sent him running back to Anthony with the book. In iconography, Anthony always holds the baby Jesus and a lily for purity. Many times the returned book of the gospels is included.

Novena to Saint Anthony of Padua

Holy Saint Anthony, gentle and powerful in your help, Your love for God and charity for His creatures, made you worthy when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on your word, which you were always ready to request for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (mention your request here). The answer to my prayer may require a miracle. Even so, you are the saint of miracles. Gentle and loving Saint Anthony, whose heart is ever full of human sympathy, take my petition to the Infant Savior for whom you have such a great love, and the gratitude of my heart will be ever yours.
Amen

It is customary to donate to Saint Anthony’s Bread, a charity started in Saint Anthony’s lifetime, in gratitude to answered novena prayers.

(Excerpted from the Novena App). Continue reading

Saints For March: Saint Patrick and Saint Joseph

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Saint Patrick  389 – 461
Feast Day is March 17
Saint Patrick is Patron Saint of Ireland,
Fear of Snakes, Faith

Though not usually considered a novena saint, Saint Patrick is called upon by many for faith in the most trying of circumstances. Since he himself was forced to submit to living in a country not of his own choosing, he assists in accepting difficult situations where there is little hope of change. The patron saint of Ireland, he is credited with single—handedly changing the beliefs of the entire Irish nation through the purity and intensity of his faith. Saint Patrick’s following has spread to wherever the Irish have settled, especially in North America and Australia. He could never have imagined the astounding impact that his work in Ireland would have on the world. Saint Patrick was born on the west coast of Great Britain of Roman—British parents. Though his father was a deacon, and his grandfather a priest, early on, Patrick showed no interest at all in God or religion. At the age of sixteen he was abducted by pirates and taken to Ireland, where he was sold into slavery. For six years he was forced to live under the direst of conditions, subject to the elements and hardship, herding sheep. When he began to pray for deliverance, he dreamed of a ship docked two hundred miles away.

By following the dream’s directions, he was able to escape from captivity, find the ship, and prevail upon the sailors to take him with them. He eventually returned to his family, and in gratitude for God’s help he became a priest. In A.D. 432 he again had a dream that changed the course of his life. In it, he was instructed to return to Ireland and to convert as many people as possible to Christianity. Though he would have preferred to perfect his studies and remain in Britain, he surrendered to the guidance of the dream and put all his faith in God by returning to Ireland. Living there at a time when the Druid religion was in decline, he nonetheless had to compete with the “wizardry” of the Druid priests. There are many fantastic tales of his magical powers. It was said that Saint Patrick could turn people into deer and that he could turn day into night. He is still invoked today by those afraid of snakes, because he was said to have obtained a promise from God that no poisonous reptiles would be allowed to live on that island. Saint Patrick expelling snakes is a common image.

Another one of his symbols is the shamrock, or three—leaf clover. This symbolizes how he explained the Holy Trinity in his preaching. Saint Patrick built his main church in Northern Ireland.

Realizing that the landowners chose the religion of their serfs for them, he set upon converting the major families first. His life as a former slave and fugitive taught him to trust God completely, and those living in similarly miserable circumstances have always been able to identify with him. He died in 461 in the monastery of Saul, and his remains are buried with those of Saint Brigid in Ulster.

Novena to Saint Patrick

O great apostle of Ireland, glorious Saint Patrick, to whom under God so many are indebted for the most precious of all treasures, the great gift of faith, receive our fervent thanks for the zeal and charity that have been to thousands the blessings so invaluable. We ask your intervention in receiving (Mention your request here). Ask for all who dwell in this land and the land of thy labors the precious light of Faith, and beg for us on whom its glorious rays have long since beamed, the grace to regulate our lives by its sacred maxims. Amen 

Say this novena nine times in a row for nine days in a row.

Saint Joseph  First Century
Feast Day is March 19
Saint Joseph is the Patron Saint of Family Protection,
Fathers and Work His patronages include a Happy Death and the countries
of Belgium, Canada and Peru

A poor carpenter and a direct descendant of the house of David, Saint Joseph was selected by God from all the men in the world to be the earthly father of Jesus Christ, an average person exalted to he highest level of respect and achievement. He readily accepted this and other directives from God and never shirked his responsibility to his family. Thus, Joseph epitomizes the role of father—protector. Many of the greatest saints have called on Joseph for protection. His novena is considered to be powerful, one that can be invoked for any trouble. Saint Teresa of Avila said, “I don’t recall up to this day ever having petitioned him for anything that he fails to grant. It is an amazing thing, the great many favors God has granted me through the meditation of this blessed saint.”

In Italy, where his feast is a major religious holiday, Saint Joseph is believed to have the power to break all natural law. It is said that since Jesus always obeyed Joseph when he was his father on earth, Joseph is accorded the same power in heaven. The only information known about Joseph is written in the Gospels. Because of the chasteness of his marriage to Mary, it is often assumed that he was an older man. This is unlikely considering the amount of effort he exerted protecting the Holy Family. Joseph was betrothed to Mary when he learned of her pregnancy. He was prevented from leaving her when he was assured by an angel in a dream that the child she was carrying was divinely given. After the child Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Joseph was again visited by the angelic presence, instructing him to move his family into Egypt to avoid King Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. He kept his family in Egypt until the death of Herod seven years later. He then moved Jesus and Mary back to Israel, settling in the obscure town of Nazareth in Galilee. Joseph approached the responsibility of raising the son of God with great humility and simplicity, instructing the boy in the trade of carpenter. He accepted and protected his wife’s virginity and led a chaste life devoted to his faith in God. In art he is usually shown holding a lily for purity. In some images he is carrying the baby Jesus.

The last mention of Joseph in the Gospels is when Jesus was twelve years old and left his parents to preach in the temple. It is assumed that Joseph died before the wedding feast of Cana. Since he enjoyed a perfect family life with Jesus and Mary, it is also assumed that Joseph died an easy death, with his wife and son at his side. This is why one of Saint Joseph’s many patronages is for a happy death. Because of his livelihood as a carpenter, he is considered the patron of workers. He is frequently invoked by those in need of work. In the United States people bury a statue of him upside down on the properties of hard—to—sell homes.

Novena to Saint Joseph

O glorious Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, to you we raise our hearts and hands to ask your powerful intercession in obtaining from the compassionate heart of Jesus all the helps and graces necessary for our spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace for which we now ask. Mention your request here O guardian of the Word Incarnate, we feel animated with confidence that your prayers for us will be graciously heard at the throne of God.

The following is to be said seven times in honor of the seven joys and seven sorrows of Saint Joseph. O glorious Saint Joseph, through the love you bear for Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his name, hear our prayers and grant our petitions. This novena can be practiced at any time of year. It is particularly effective if done for the seven Sundays prior to the feast of Saint Joseph in honor of his seven sorrows and seven joys.

Say this novena nine times in a row for nine days in a row.

Saints for All Occasions Notecards

Novena App Saints of Health: Saint John of God, Patron of Heart Ailments

detail from a painting of Saint John of God saving sick people from a fire at the royal hospital, by Manuel Gomez-Moreno Gonzalez, 1880; Museo de Bellas Artres, Granada, Spain; swiped from Wikimedia Commons; click for source image

1495 – 1550

Feast Day: March 8

Quote: “I give myself to God. What I have is yours.”

Key Words: alcoholism, heart ailments, the dying, the sick, hospitals, booksellers, firefighters, nurses, printers

Patron of: heart ailments

Symbols: pomegranate, cross, humbly serving

 

A Portuguese mercenary who fought in several wars, sold slaves, and lived hard, John was known to “think with his heart” by acting impulsively. At the age of 40, retired from the army and a book dealer in Granada, he heard a sermon that changed his life. He became as extreme in his dedication to his religious life as he had once been to his life as a soldier. He tested the physical limits of his own heart by serving the sick and poor with an intense fervor. He is invoked by those plagued with heart conditions for protection against heart attacks.

Brought up by pious and simple people, John  had left home for a life of adventure when he was still a young boy. He worked as a shepherd and as soon as he was able, he enlisted in an army regiment. By the time his regiment disbanded, John was weary of the immoral life he led as a soldier. When he went to find his parents, he was told by an uncle that they had both died grief stricken over his disappearance. John vowed to live a better life and began selling pious pictures from town to town. On the road to Granada he met a barefoot child on the road who he offered to carry. To his surprise the child became heavier and heavier. When John put the child down at a fountain, the child gave him the title he would always be known as, saying, “John of God, Granada shall be your cross,” before disappearing. It was in Granada that he opened his book store and heard the sermon of John of Avila which shattered his existence. The thought of all the wrongs he committed in his life drove him to madness. Incarcerated in a filthy hospital, he suffered the mistreatment of the insane first hand.  As he recovered his sanity, he began helping the nursing staff. Upon his release, he devoted the rest of his life to the sick and destitute, never forgetting how terribly they were treated in the local institutions. He founded the Order of the Brother Hospitallers and opened a hospital, funding it by begging in the streets. When his hospital was burning down, he ran in and carried each patient out one by one. He is frequently depicted carrying a hospital patient. Because of this he is also considered a patron of firefighters.

While recovering from an illness, John of God leapt into a river in an unsuccessful attempt at rescuing a drowning boy. He died on his 55th birthday from an over-exhausted heart.

The symbol of Granada is the pomegranate, it is also a fruit with many seeds, which John’s Order took as a symbol of their founder’s spiritual influence.

Invoked against: alcoholism, heart attack

 

 NOVENA PRAYER TO SAINT JOHN OF GOD FOR A CURE

Saint John of God, heavenly Patron of the Sick, I come to you in prayer to seek your help in my present sickness. Through the love which Jesus had for you in choosing you for the sublime vocation of serving the sick, and through the tender affection with which the Blessed Virgin Mary placed upon your head a crown of thorns as a symbol of the sufferings you would undergo in the service of the sick to attain to your crown of glory, I beg you to intercede for me to Jesus and Mary that They may grant me a cure, if this should be according to the Will of God.

How patiently you bore the sufferings of your own disease! Teach me to carry with cheerful resignation the cross that God has given me. Let me never complain or lose courage. Help

me to understand that suffering is a very important means of sanctifying my soul, of atoning for my many sins, and of reaping a plentiful harvest of merit for Heaven. I trust in your great love for the sick and in the power of your intercession to help them. Help me, good St. John, and beg the God whose name you bear to touch me as He touched the sick while on earth, that through His almighty power health may return to my body. And as you derived strength in your own sufferings from the crucifix, so may I be able to say what you did to Jesus Crucified: “Lord, Thy thorns are my roses and Thy sufferings my paradise.”

Good Saint John, lover of those who suffer and special Patron of the Sick, I confidently place before you my earnest petition.

(Mention your request.)

I beg you to recommend my request to Mary, the Mother of Sorrows and Health of the Sick, that both Mary and you may present it to Jesus, the Divine Physician.

Saint John of God, patron of the Sick and beloved of Jesus and Mary, pray to Them for me and obtain my request. (Three times.)

In honor of Saint John of God:

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Saint John of God, Patron of the Sick, pray for us.

 

Say this novena nine times in a row for nine days in a row.

Click here for this and 35 other saints on the Novena App

Feast of Saint Adelaide, December 16

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Born 931

Patron Saint of Brides

Considered the most famous woman of her time. Adelaide was married twice. Her first marriage was arranged and ended with her husbands death three years later. Eventually she married Otto the Great with whom she had four children. Adelaide’s life was full of drama, including exile and raising her grandchildren.

She is one of the saints in Saints for All Occasions Notecards.

“These notecards are amazing – simply beautiful. They can be used for any occasion. We recently used these notecards for a retreat – they were so inspirational for those who received them.”—Rosie PS, Amazon review