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  • The Fourteen Holy Helpers

    By Anthony Parente

    Fourteen Holy Helpers
    During one of the darkest times in history a little faith and intercession gave hope to the people of Europe and helped them survive what was called "The Greatest Catastrophe Ever". During the 14th century Europe faced a major outbreak of Bubonic Plague, which was commonly called the Black Death. This devastating pandemic made its way to Europe from Asia as it estimated to have killed more than 50 million Europeans, which was over half of their population.

    The Black Death wiped out small villages, entire families and even livestock. People feared for their lives. Doctors had no answers and were even afraid to care for the sick. In times of uncertainty people often look to their faith in hopes that their prayers will be answered, and they will be spared from the evil that haunts the continent. They turned to a group of Saints known for their miraculous interventions. These Saints were specifically selected for their patronage and they became known as the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

    Saint Acacius against headaches
    Saint Barbara against fever and sudden death
    Saint Blaise against ailments of the throat
    Saint Catherine of Alexandria against sudden death
    Saint Christopher against plagues and sudden death
    Saint Cyriacus against temptations, especially at time of death
    Saint Denis against headaches
    Saint Erasmus against abdominal maladies and for protection of domestic animals
    Saint Eustace against family trouble
    Saint George for protection of domestic animals
    Saint Giles against plagues and for a good confession
    Saint Margaret of Antioch for safe childbirth
    Saint Pantaleon for physicians and for protection of domestic animals
    Saint Vitus against epilepsy and for protection of domestic animals

    Germany was the first to invoke these Holy Helpers. Devotion quickly spread throughout Europe and churches and shrines were dedicated in their honor. These saints all have their own feast days but in some places, they collectively celebrate the Fourteen Holy Helpers on August 8th.

    As we face difficult times perhaps, we should look to the past and turn to our faith and seek out the Fourteen Holy Helpers and ask them once again to intercede on our behalf and protect us.


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