Thursday, January 10, 2013

Six Patron Saints for Six Serious Diseases

"So many poor people come here that I very often wonder how we can care for them all, but Jesus Christ provides all things and nourishes everyone. Many of them come to the house of God, because the city of Granada is large and very cold, especially now in winter. More than a hundred and ten are now living here, sick and healthy, servants and pilgrims. Since this house is open to everyone, it receives the sick of every type and condition: the crippled, the disabled, lepers, mutes, the insane, paralytics, those suffering from scurvy and those bearing the afflictions of old age, many children, and above all countless pilgrims and travelers, who come here, and for whom we furnish the fire, water, and salt, as well as the utensils to cook their food. And for all of this no payment is requested, yet Christ provides."1

-St. John of God

In my own life, I have experienced the intercession of the saints in the lives of loved ones to such a degree that, during my own conversion process, I could no longer doubt that someone really was listening on the other end of the line, so to speak.  When someone experiences something like this by witnessing it in the lives of others, it makes one almost approach the whole idea of the intercession of the saints in a different manner.  Oftentimes, I would pray the pre-written novenas and the like, but in many cases, I simply spoke to the saints in prayer as one would speak with a stranger and yet a friend at the same time.  I cannot even remotely express some of the amazing things that have occurred in the lives of others from doing so - praise God for His saints!

In this spirit, I want to take ten illnesses and diseases of a more serious nature, and list the major patron saint for them below, in hopes that those in need can always know they have a friend in heaven praying especially for them before the throne of God.  Try talking to them in prayer as you would a trusted friend.

1.  AIDS - St. Aloysius Gonzaga

I grew up as a child still in the heyday of the panic over AIDS, and all the ensuing prejudice, misunderstandings, and all the rest that followed.  I remember that it was almost viewed as being a disease as catchy as the common cold, and everyone was terrified.  How little everyone seemed to know about it all, at least when I view it in retrospect.

For sufferers of AIDS, I found that their special patron saint is a fiery young Jesuit by the name of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a favorite student of St. Robert Bellarmine, one of the leading lights of the Counter-Reformation and a Doctor of the Church.  St. Aloysius' life was a short one - he died ministering to the sick at the age of 23.

Though St. Aloysius is certainly more well known, St. Luigi Scrosoppi deserves a mention under this heading too, for it was his intercession that cured young and terminally ill Peter Changu Shitima of AIDS - "One of his doctors, Dr. Pete de Toit, said: 'I sent him home because he was a terminal patient, and he returned brimming with health.'2

2.  Multiple Sclerosis - St. Dymphna

One of the more famous Irish saints, St. Dymphna is not officially the patron saint of neurological disorders, but from what I have gathered, she is unofficially prayed to as a patron of those who suffer from them, given her patronage of any affliction of the mind or nervous system in general.

I have two friends, one from childhood and one from youth, who are both afflicted with this horrible condition.  If you know someone who is suffering from MS or some other neurological disease, ask St. Dymphna for her prayers for them.

3.  Heart Disease - St. John of God

I love St. John of God - he is one of my newest favorite saints of the Church.  Like many saints, he lived a life of sin before suddenly being hit with a conversion experience so powerful that it caused him to do an about face and turn his life to Christ.  He worked tirelessly for the sick and dying, and remains the patron of those especially afflicted with diseases of the heart.

4.  Breast Cancer -St. Agatha

The very idea of breast cancer hits home for me - my own mother was diagnosed with an advanced stage of breast cancer in early 2011, and it was absolutely terrifying.  I cannot even imagine what she went through during that time - I remember praying for so long one day that the candle glass actually split down the middle and broke from the heat.  It was a dark time for the soul, that is for certain.  Thanks be to God, she is still here today.

Unfortunately, many women suffer through breast cancer in their lives - I've heard it said that it's one in two women who get it, but I hope this statistic is wrong.  Nonetheless, breast cancer sufferers have their own patron saint especially.  Though St. Peregrine is the patron of saint of those suffering of any kind of cancer, it is an early Christian martyr named St. Agatha who is the go-to saint for those struggling with breast cancer, due to the particularly insidious tortures she suffered at the hands of her persecutors for her refusal to renounce Christ. 

5.  Appendicitis - St. Erasmus

I suppose it is a little morbid at first glance that some of the patron saints for various ailments are so because of the hideous tortures they were put through.  Martyred by disembowelment, it seems natural that St. Erasmus be the patron of bowel disorders and stomach ailments in general.  But it is those with appendicitis that he seems to be specifically known to be the patron of. 

6.  Diabetes - St. Paulina of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus

I have been looking around for a patron saint of diabetics for quite some time now, as I have a few friends who suffer from it; plus, it seemed that there simply wasn't a patron for diabetics period, as though it was an ailment simply not on the charts yet.

Along comes St. Paulina, the first canonized Brazilian citizen.  St. Paulina was a nun of the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception whose life work was taking care of slaves and their children who were abandoned and left to die, as well as orphans.  Though it is unofficial, because she suffered from diabetes for most of her life, she has become the patroness of those suffering from it.

1 - From here.
2 - qtd. in Michael McMahon, Saints: The Art, the History, the Inspiration, pg. 410


  1. St. Rafael Arnaiz-Baron died from complications due to diabetes. He would make a great patron.

    1. I believe that St. Francis of Assisi was also thought to have suffered and died from diabetes, and he would also make a great patron.

  2. Blessed Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, died of breast cancer. I seek her intercession for the numerous relatives and friends who are fighting this disease.

  3. Is there a saint I can pray to help me get over my divorce? which my wife wanted.


    1. Hi Mick,
      I believe there is - I found this:

      May it help you out - divorce is such a horrible thing to go through.

      God's peace be with you,

  4. Thanks for the two listing for Patron Saints for breast cancer, a disease that I was diagnosed wih last month and lost a breat to this month. Waiting to hear results of the biopsies.

  5. My son is a Type 1 diabetic and we have discovered that St. Josemaria Escriva suffered from Type 1. We have always looked at him as the patron saint of diabetes.

  6. St Sebastian and St Lazarus are well-known as patrons for those with AIDS.

  7. St. Dymphna is also the patron saint of those with mental disorders.

  8. Is there a saint for a rarely unknown disease or medical disorder like Hereditary Angio Edema? It affects the body by swelling in various areas at unknown times. Requires injections of different serums depending on case and remains for life.

  9. St Peregrine is the patron st. of cancer. His cancerous leg was healed by Our Lord.

  10. God's Blessings
    People can turn to Our Lady of Health - Our Lady of Vailankanni for miraculous results! Our dear Mother Mary knows best what we need.
    Main site:
    ( also a virtual tour online)
    Prayer requests:

    Also Our Lady of Guadalupe....her promises to alleviate and remedy all our multiple problems....Hear and understand my son, the smallest of my sons, that it is nothing that scares you and grieves you.
    Do not trouble your heart. Do not fear that illness nor any other illness nor anguish. Am I not here, I who am your Mother?
    Are you not under my shadow?
    Am I not your health? Are you not in the crossing of my arms?
    What else do you need?
    Here I will demonstrate, I will exhibit,
    I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and
    my protection to the people.
    I am your merciful mother,
    the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land,
    and of all mankind, of all those who love me,
    of those who cry to me, of those who seek me,
    of those who have confidence in me.
    Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow,
    and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes."

    St. Joseph - St. Teresa Avila highly recommends praying to him - he is most powerful and unfailing!

    St. Philomena Powerful With God Pray For Us!
    Pray To Saint Philomena,
    Whatever You Ask From Her She Will Obtain It For You!
    Pope Gregory XVI

  11. St. Nectarios of Pentapolis (himself a victim of ecclesiastical intrigue and envy) is a pwoerful intercessor for cancer.

  12. Is there a saint for Lyme D & its co-infections.

  13. I would like to add a few saints that I constantly pray to not only in time of need (may be more when I am in need). St.Joseph and Mother Mary are my go to all the time, St Anthony finds solutions to your problems, and St Jude, powerful saint to pray in hopeless and desperate cases. Prayers and novenas are found on the Internet.

  14. St. Joseph is a very powerful intercessor for all problems. St.Brother Andre of Canada recommended all who sought his prayers to pray to St. Joseph and gave out St. Joseph medals to all the sick. He said that if results are slow, ask St. Joseph to pray as if he is praying to God for himself. He never fails. St. Therese, the Little Flower, is very powerful and if you are scrupulous, pray to her. Her whole family suffered from from scrupulosity.

  15. Please do not forget St. Jude, the saint of cases despaired of. He has so often come through for me. . .

  16. Hmm, good job! This is really something!

  17. Is there a patron or patroness dor lyme disease and its coinfections?

  18. Anyone know of a patron saint for lymes disease? If not I think the recommendation made to pray to st Anthony is a great second choice

  19. I don't think there is a patron specifically for Lymes. I found this page that lists many patron saints of various diseases:

    I also personally look to our friend and Doctor of the Church, patron saint of arthritis, St Alphonse Liguori (Lymes causes a particular type of arthritis, among other problems.)

    I call St Dymphna as well, to help deal with the emotional and mental components of my disease(s)

    And.. Our Lady of Lourdes, and St Bernadette (she suffered greatly from tuberculosis), are also sympathetic to our sufferings, and can help us bear them patiently while awaiting the Lord's healing, reminding us to unite with and offer our sufferings to the Lord, for the reparation of sin, the salvation of souls and the relief of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, etc.

  20. Another Patron Saint For Diabetics....
    Saint Josemaria Escriba is also a patron saint of diabetics ( On April 27, 1954, St. Josemaria Escriva suffered a near fatal anaphylactic shock. He inexplicably survived the incident and, after having suffered with diabetes for over 10 years, St. Josemaria was miraculously cured of the disease.