Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Apostle St. Jude (as well as St. Simon). The biographical information on St. Jude is scarce. We know that he was selected as one of the Twelve by Jesus. Tradition holds that he preached the Good News throughout the Middle East. He was martyred around 65 A.D. in Beirut in the Roman Province of Syria. At some point after his martyrdom, St. Jude’s remains were moved to the crypt beneath St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
St. Jude is known as the patron saint of desperate or hopeless causes. This devotion and title began shortly after his martyrdom when many people reported powerful intercessions from him after visiting his remains. He was given the title ‘The Saint for the Hopeless and Despaired’ by many. St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Bernard reported visions from God in which He told them to accept St. Jude as the patron saint of the impossible. This tradition continues to this day.
St. Jude is a saint many Catholics are familiar with to some extent. He is commonly depicted in Catholic art and when a difficult situation arises many people seek St. Jude’s intercession. St. Jude Children’s Hospital is a prime example of seeking his great intercession for children desperately ill with cancer and other terminal illnesses. I have heard his name mentioned in prayer more than once as I pray at our local abortion clinic with 40 Days for Life.
Desperate and difficult situations are a part of the human experience. In times of great trial, we often need friends to show us the way, to guide us, and help us. The Communion of Saints is filled with men and women who are examples to us of how to live, but also in how to reach out in times of need. They are friends cheering us on as we persevere on the path to holiness.