Saint Of Lost Causes: Who is St. Jude and What are His Prayers

Saint Of Lost Causes

There are times in every Christian’s life when it seems that a problem is insurmountable or a cross that we carry is unbearable.  In these cases, pray to the saint of lost causes. The St. Jude Thaddeus prayer can be used to ask for assistance when you are desperately seeking help. Many people bow their heads down to Saint Jude for answers when they have tried to solve a problem on their own but have failed. A few reasons people read the St. Jude prayer include reasons such as: 

  • Financial help paying unexpected payments
  • Extra money to pay monthly rent or mortgage bills
  • Money to pay large medical bills
  • Healing for chronic health problems or terminal illness
  • A miracle for urgent problems

The Saint Of Lost Causes: Who do you pray to?

Why Pray to St. Jude, Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases and Lost Causes?

St. Jude, also known as Judas Thaddaeus, was amongst one of the men considered to be the 

Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Not much is known of St. Jude’s life, although he is perhaps the most popular patron of impossible causes or saint of lost causes. This is because he preached the Gospel with great passion, often in the most difficult circumstances. 

He is not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, Christ’s betrayer. The holy disciple Judas Thaddaeus is often referred to simply as Jude in the bible. 

Who is St. Jude?

Though St. Jude is sometimes called “the Forgotten Saint”, this disciple has never been one to forget those who turn to him. Unlike other saints who are given limited and short patronage, St. Jude Thaddeus is invoked in various situations, as the saint of lost causes which are most desperate, most hopeless, and almost impossible – oftentimes associated with death, money, or illness. 

Less information has been handed down about the life of the apostle St. Jude. Though he was a disciple of Holy Christ throughout his public ministry, St. Jude was quoted just once in the gospels: During the last supper, the saint of lost causes posed a question which led Christ to reveal the doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. 

After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, St. Jude was unwavering to the command that he and the other apostles were given, “Go out, making disciples of all nations … teaching them to observe all the commandments which I have given you,” (Matthew 28:19-20).

According to tradition, the saint of lost causes preached in Judea, Samaria, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya. He was later martyred, though accounts of his martyrdom vary; some say he was martyred in Persia, now Iran, and Iraq, and others say that he was martyred in Syria (modern Beirut in Lebanon). the saint of lost causes may have been clubbed to death or attacked with an ax, which is why he is sometimes depicted in art with those instruments. Eventually, his relics were transferred to Rome, where he is buried in the crypt at St. Peter’s Basilica. The saint of lost causes’ tomb became a famous place of pilgrimage and devotion in the middle ages. In one of the visions of St. Bridget of Sweden, who was alive in the 14th century, the Lord particularly recommended that she pray to St. Jude with the following words, “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself most willing to give help.” 

However, devotion to the saint of lost causes decreased, almost disappearing, as the saint of lost causes was often confused with Judas Iscariot because of their first names sounding the same. 

Fortunately, prayers to St. Jude were reintroduced in the United States when it was most desperately needed, at the beginning of the Great Depression and during World War II. Thanks to his almighty intercession and the startling number of answered prayers, St. Jude Thaddeus quickly grew in people’s prayers, easily becoming a popular and one of the most loved saints.

Most well known for the children’s hospital named after him, St. Jude is also established for being the patron saint of hopeless cases. One of the twelve apostles called by Jesus during His public ministry, the tale of St. Jude is much less known. Forgotten by Catholic Christians for many years, this powerful saint’s prayers are a reminder to be hopeful and trust in God at all times.

More details of the early life of St. Jude are not known. The first mention of the saint of lost causes is when Jesus called the twelve apostles. St. Jude is most often referred to as “Thaddeus,” and at times is called “St. Jude Thaddeus.” He was the brother of another apostle, St. James the Lesser. The most famous one of the “brethren” of Jesus, it is believed that Jude may have been Jesus’ cousin, as well. Bible researchers even suggest that his father was Clopas, and his mother was Mary, a cousin of the Virgin Mary.

After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, St. Jude was recorded as present at Pentecost. This disciple then went out to preach the Gospel in many kingdoms and travelled to share the Good News in Mesopotamia, Libya, and Persia. He traveled with St. Simon, working to establish the early Church in these nations.

St. Jude penned down an epistle that appears in the New Testament. It was penned down to combat heresies that were challenging the Truth at the time. The letter was drawn up to the Church in the East, and was particularly aimed at Christians who were converts from Judaism.

Unwavering in his dedication to Jesus, St. Jude suffered a martyr’s death. His body was brought back to Rome and he was buried under St. Peter’s Basilica. After his death, St. Bridget of Sweden once said he experienced a vision in which Jesus instructed her to go to St. Jude with confidence and faith. She was also told that St. Jude would show himself to be of any kind of assistance. Another saint, St. Bernard, had a similar vision of St. Jude, in which he was told that St. Jude is to be invoked during difficult times and to be prayed to as the “Patron Saint of the Impossible.”

During the Middle Ages, there was widespread uncertainty over the name of St. Jude. In Latin, St. Jude’s name, (“Judas”), over the years led to this great saint being negatively associated with Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Christ. 

After such a grave misunderstanding, the once-popular devotion to the saint of lost causes, grew rather obscure. It was not until the early 20th century that St. Jude started to resurface again among Catholic Christians. In 1929, a priest in Chicago popularized prayers to St. Jude and built what currently famous as the “National Shrine of St. Jude.”

Once the world was reintroduced to St. Jude, his popularity spread very quickly. The historical era that continued included the devastation of the Great Depression and World War II. Many Catholics faced incredibly difficult circumstances and having a saint whose patronage was “lost causes” gave them great hope. Devotion to St. Jude followed all over the world throughout the decades, and he remains a popular intercessor today.

St. Jude or Judas Thaddaeus in Art

St. Jude is depicted in art by holding one or more of the following: 

He holds a club:

This signifies his martyrdom -he is often drawn with a flame over his head. This symbolizes his existence at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles in tongues of fire.

A book/scroll: 

This signifies that St. Jude penned the book of Jude in the Holy Bible. 

And a coin/image: 

The image is of Jesus, and the story describing its origin comes from the writings of Eusebius in the 300s. In the story, he wrote about the time that King Abgar of Edessa wrote a letter to Jesus Christ, asking Christ to come to cure him. 

The King received a response from Jesus, stating that He would not be able to come to him, but that He would send one of His apostles at a later time to cure him of his illness.

St. Jude went to King Abgar with an image of Christ (some say it was from a piece of cloth on which Jesus left His imprint, but others say it was a painting of the Lord). When the image was placed upon King Abgar, he recovered from his illness and this miracle is recounted in the image that St. Jude holds. As you can see, this is the artwork that we are referring to as the image on the coin, however, the accurate depiction should be the face of Christ in a circular shape.

Why is St. Jude The Saint of Lost Causes?

Although much about St. Jude, one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles, is unknown, we do know that he preached to a lot of pagans in Persia. He is often depicted with a flame above his head, representing his presence at Pentecost, a medallion with an image of Christ’s face around his neck, symbolizing his closeness with the Lord, and a staff, symbolizing his role in leading people to the Truth.

Due to the two apostles, Judas Thaddaeus and Judas Iscariot, having the same first name, many Christians were under the impression that they would call upon the wrong Judas by accident. They avoided praying for help from St. Jude and he, despite being one of the 12 disciples, was often overlooked in prayer. Therefore, St. Jude became eager to help anyone that asked him to intercede, so much so that he would help with almost any lost cause or hopeless case in order to prove his devotion to Christ. This is the main reason why St. Jude is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes in the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Another reason why St. Jude is the saint of lost causes is that the scriptural Letter of St. Jude, which he authored, persuaded Christians to continue their faith in difficult times. In addition to this, St. Bridget of Sweden was directed by the Lord to turn to St. Jude with great faith and confidence. In a vision, the Lord spoke to St. Bridget, “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself most willing to give help.” He is the patron of the impossible because the Lord sought him out as a saint willing to assist followers in our trials.

St. Jude’s feast day is marked on October 28, and novenas are often invoked or prayed for his intercession. 

Pray any of these Novenas to the Patron Saint of Hope: St. Jude

Novena in Latin means “nine” and is a sequence of prayers that are read once per day over nine consecutive days. Such prayers are special as they represent the nine days that the 12 disciples bowed their heads down together before the Pentecost (Acts 1:4-5). 

After nine days of invoking prayers, the Apostles were “filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4)

Novena To St. Jude

Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus,  the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult  cases, of things almost despaired of, Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.

Intercede with God for me that He bring visible and speedy help where help is  almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive  the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and  sufferings, particularly –

(make your request here)

– and that I may praise  God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be  ever mindful of this great favor granted me by God and to always honor you as  my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.

Prayer to St. Jude – (1)

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, and loved in all the  tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.

May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen

St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen.

Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Blessed be the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Blessed be St. Jude Thaddeus, in all the world and for all Eternity.

(say this prayer, followed by the Our Father and Hail Mary)

Prayer to St. Jude for Those in Great Medical Need

Dear Apostle and Martyr for Christ, you left us an Epistle in the New Testament. With good reason many invoke you when illness is at a desperate stage. We now recommend to your kindness {name of patient} who is in a critical condition. May the cure of this patient increase his/her faith and love for the Lord of Life, for the glory of our merciful God. Amen.

Prayer to St. Jude – (2)

Oh glorious apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies has caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases–of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable; make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded thee of bringing visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need, that I may receive the consolations and succor of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly (mention your request), and that I may bless God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen.

The 4 Patron Saints of Impossible Causes – Pray To Any

It’s important to note that there are 4 saints of impossible causes in total. St. Jude is one of them. 

1) St. Rita of Cascia

St. Rita came into this world in 1381 in Roccaporena, Italy. Despite wanting to enter a religious life, her parents arranged her marriage at a young age to a cruel and unfaithful man. Because of Rita’s prayers, he finally experienced a conversion after almost 20 years of an unhappy marriage, only to be killed by an enemy soon after his conversion. St. Rita’s two boys also became ill and died following their father’s death, leaving Rita without family.

She hoped again to enter the religious life, but was denied access to the Augustinian convent many times before finally being accepted. Upon finally gaining access, Rita was asked to tend to a dead piece of the vine (grape) as an act of obedience. She watered the stick obediently, and it inexplicably grew grapes. These days, the plant still grows at the convent, and its leaves are shared amongst those seeking miraculous healing.

For the rest of her natural life until her death in 1457, St. Rita experienced illness and an ugly, open wound on her forehead that was sickening those around her. Like the other calamities in her life, she quietly bore this situation with grace, viewing her wound as a physical participation in Jesus’ suffering from His crown of thorns. Despite suffering from seemingly impossible circumstances and causes for despair, St. Rita never lost her faith or let it be weakened in her resolve to love God.

Her feast day is May 22. Endless amounts of miracles have been attributed to her.

2) St. Jude

St. Jude, also known as Judas Thaddaeus, was amongst one of the men considered to be the 

Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Not much is known of St. Jude’s life, although he is perhaps the most popular patron of impossible causes or saint of lost causes. This is because he preached the Gospel with great passion, often in the most difficult circumstances. 

Although much about St. Jude, one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles, is unknown, we do know that he preached to a lot of pagans in Persia. He is often depicted with a flame above his head, representing his presence at Pentecost, a medallion with an image of Christ’s face around his neck, symbolizing his closeness with the Lord, and a staff, symbolizing his role in leading people to the Truth.

St. Jude is  the patron of impossible causes because the scriptural Letter of St. Jude, which he authored, persuaded Christians to persevere in harsh times. In addition to this, St. Bridget of Sweden was directed by the Lord to turn to St. Jude with great faith and confidence. In a vision, the Lord spoke to St. Bridget, “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself most willing to give help.” He is the patron of the impossible because the Lord identified him as a saint ready and willing to assist us in our trials.

3) St. Philomena

St. Philomena, whose name can be translated to “Daughter of Light,” is one of the earliest known Christian martyrs. Her final resting place was discovered in ancient Roman catacombs in 1802. Not much information about her life on earth is available except that she died a martyr for her faith at the young age of 13 or 14. 

Born of noble birth with Christian convert parents, Philomena dedicated her virginity to Jesus Christ.  When she denied her hand in marriage to the Emperor Diocletian, she was cruelly tortured in many ways for over a period of 30 days. She was scourged, thrown into a river with an anchor around her neck making sure that she would drown and was then shot through with arrows.  Miraculously she survived all these attempts on her life, she was finally beheaded and placed in a tomb. Despite the tortures, she did not waver in her love for Jesus Christ and her vow to Him.

The miracles attached to her intercession were so vast that she was canonized based solely on these miracles and her death as a martyr.  She became known as “The Wonder Worker.”

St. Philomena has been represented by a lily for purity, a crown and arrows for martyrdom, and an anchor which was symbolically found inscribed on her tomb. Ironically this was one of the most popular instruments of torture. 

St. Philomena’s feast day is commemorated on August 11th. Besides impossible causes, the holy lady is also the patroness of babies, orphans, and youth.

4) St. Gregory Thaumaturgus

St. Gregory Neocaesarea, also known as St. Gregory Thaumaturgus came into this world through Asia Minor around the year 213. Although he was raised as a pagan, at age 14 he was deeply influenced by a godly teacher who helped him convert to Christianity with his brother. 

At the age of 40, a middle-aged Gregory became a bishop in Caesarea and served the Church under this post until his death 30 years later. According to ancient records, there were only 17 Christians in Caesarea when St. Gregory first became a bishop. Numerous nonbelievers were converted by his words and by his miracles which showed these folks that the power of God was with him. When he died, there were only 17 pagans still in existence in all of Caesarea.

According to St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus is often linked to Moses, the prophets, and the Twelve Apostles. St. Gregory of Nyssa says Gregory Thaumaturgus saw a vision of Our Lady, one of the first such recorded visions. His feast day is November 17th.

So that was a detailed look into the lore and story of the Saint of Lost Causes. Hopefully, you have a much better insight into the topic now.

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