While the name, prayers, and intentions of Saint Jude are often discussed in pop culture, not much is known about this remarkable follower of Christ. As one of the twelve Apostles, Saint Jude is believed to be the brother of St. James the Less, who was also an Apostle. In fact, their mother Mary was cousins with the Blessed Virgin Mary, making the brothers related to Jesus Christ.
With so many commonly-used names, it’s easy to confuse key biblical and historical figures. In fact, Saint Jude was often confused with Judas Iscariot, betrayer of our Lord, in the centuries following Christ’s death and resurrection. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that his name was fully distinguished from that of Judas Iscariot. However, Saint Jude’s association with hopeless and impossible causes was actually founded before then in the early 14th century, when both Saint Bridget of Sweden and Saint Bernard received visions from God asking them to appeal to Saint Jude as the patron of lost causes. Since then, Saint Jude is widely known for his patronage, with several hospitals, police forces, and nonprofits adopting his namesake. Most notable of these examples is the Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.
Again, not much is known about Saint Jude’s life. However, he is mentioned in the Gospels several times in accordance with the other twelve Apostles. In fact, he is the one that voices a question over how Christ will return to His apostles after His death:
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” – John 14:22
After the resurrection of Christ, Jude was sent as a missionary to share the good news of Christ. He’s most well-known for his work in Armenia. While he is not the patron saint of the country, he is credited for first bringing Christianity to the region, along with fellow Apostle Saint Simon. The two apostles are often closely associated as they did much of their missionary work together, and were martyred together in Lebanon in 65CE.
Unlike many other saints, St. Jude doesn’t have many clear and documented miracles. Similarly, nothing we know about his life directly correlates to his patronage. In fact, the origin of Saint Jude’s patronage comes directly from scripture. In one of his letters in the New Testament, Jude encourages his readers to find hope in the most desperate and hopeless cases. He stresses that those who are faithful to God will always find hope and comfort in the most hopeless of situations.
In our own lives, we may often find ourselves in disparaging situations. However, a quick prayer to Saint Jude is sure to lift our spirits and eyes to the Lord for comfort and hope.
Prayer to St. Jude in Times of Suffering
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, I place myself into your hands at this difficult time. Help me to know that I am not alone. Please pray for me, asking God to send me comfort for my sorrows, bravery for my fears, and healing for my suffering. Ask our loving God to strengthen my faith and give me the courage to accept His Will for my life. Thank you, St. Jude, for the hope you offer to all who believe in you. Amen.
Post written by Katie Karpinski