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The Catholic Church espouses the belief that saints are people's great allies and intercessors. Through their merits, patron saints are believed to effectively champion petitions of their devotees by presenting them to the Lord.

A popular way of praying to saints is to make a novena, which is nine days of public or private prayer. The word "Novena" comes from the Latin word novem, or nine; that is, novenas are usually based in some way on the number nine. Most novenas are said nine times in a row for nine days in a row. Private novenas are frequently made in honor of the Virgin Mary. The practice may seem superstitious, but it is considered a legitimate devotional aid to prayer.

Following are some of the Catholic Church's most renowned patron saints and novena prayers to them:

St. Jude - Patron Saint of Lost Causes

St. Jude Thaddeus was one of the twelve apostles, cousin to Christ and brother to St. James the Less. Known as the patron saint of lost causes, St. Jude is recognized worldwide for his intercession in a variety of desperate situations. People the world over say hundreds of prayers to this admired saint. St. Jude Thaddeus's feast day is celebrated October 28 and the weekday dedicated to him is Thursday.

Novena Prayer to St. Jude
St. Jude, glorious apostle, faithful servant and friend to Jesus, the name of the traitor has caused you to be forgotten by many, but the true Church invokes you universally as the patron of things despaired of; pray for me who am so miserable; pray for me that finally I may receive the consolations and the succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly (here make your request), and that I may bless God with elect throughout Eternity. Amen.

St. Anthony of Padua - Patron of Lost Articles

Saint Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) was born in Lisbon, Portugal. He first joined the Augustinian Order and then left it and joined the Franciscan Order when he was 26 years old. He taught theology and preached in the large cities of France and in the vicinity of Padua, Italy. The year after his death he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX; in 1946 he was named Doctor of the Church. Anthony is the patron saint of Padua and of Portugal and is invoked for the finding of lost articles. He is typically depicted with a book and the Infant Child Jesus, to whom He miraculously appeared. Upon exhumation, some 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupted, yet his tongue was totally incorrupt, so perfect were the teachings that had been formed upon it. His feast day is June 13.

Novena Prayer to Saint Anthony of Padua

O wonderful St. Anthony, glorious on account of the fame of your miracles, and through the condescension of Jesus in coming in the form of a little child to rest in your arms, obtain for me of His bounty the grace which I ardently desire from the depths of my heart, you who were so compassionate toward miserable sinners, regard not the unworthiness of those who pray to you, but the glory of God that it may once again be magnified by the granting of the particular request (mention request) which I now ask for with persevering earnestness. Amen
One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.
Saint Anthony, pray for us

St. Francis of Assisi - patron saint of ecologists

Saint Francis was born in Assisi, Italy in 1182. He lived and preached a life of poverty and love of God to all men. He founded the religious Order of the Franciscans; with St. Clare, he founded the Order of the Poor Clares; and the Third Order for lay people. He died in 1226. His feast day is October 4.

Prayer to St. Francis of Assisi

O God, who, through the merits of blessed Francis, didst give increase to Thy Church, by enriching her with new offspring: grant us, that following his example we may despise earthly goods and ever rejoice in partaking of Thy heavenly gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with you and Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Saint Joseph - Patron of Workers and the Universal Church

Saint Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and mentioned in the Bible as the father of Jesus Christ. He was said to be a carpenter. He was a descendant of the royal line of David, and his family was from David's town of Bethlehem. Roman Catholics regard Saint Joseph as the patron of the universal church. The feast of Saint Joseph is on March 19. As foster-father of Jesus, he is a powerful intercessor for those in need.

Novena Prayer to St. Joseph

Saint Joseph, I, your unworthy child, greet you. You are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. You know that I have special confidence in you and that, after Jesus and Mary, I place all my hope of salvation in you, for you are especially powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. Therefore I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me and all that belong to me, to your intercession. I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, not to abandon me during life and to assist me at the hour of my death.
Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, obtain for me a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Divine Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore: (Mention your request). Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel confident that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. Amen.

St. Raymond Nonnatus - Patron of childbirth, children, expectant mothers, falsely accused people, infants, midwives, newborn babies, pregnant women

St. Raymond Nonnatus (1204 - 1240) hailed from Catalonia, Spain. His name means not born (= non-natus) as he was delivered by caesarian. He was a priest and Master-general of Mercedarian Order. He was said to have spent his entire estate ransoming Christians, and then giving himself up as a hostage to free another. Pope Gregory IX made him a cardinal. His feast day is August 31.

Novena Prayer to St. Raymond Nonnatus

O Blessed St. Raymond Nonnatus, so loving to all your devotees, I being last of them all, I am happy to know that through the infinite goodness of God, He has deigned to make you a Saint, adorned thee with special graces and help, for which I am most thankful. On the Most Holy Trinity, and you my adorable patron saint, through your merits and those of the blood poured by our Savior Jesus Christ, and through the Immaculate Conception of Mary, I most humbly beg thee, deign to intercede from the most sublime God, protection for the holy Mother Church, that through your prayers, God's wrath be taken away, see the progress of true faith, defeat the wrong doctrines, the peace and understanding of all Christians, peace of the whole country and the redemption of the Christian captives.

I am humbly begging you my devoted saint, that you be may be my intercessor. Since for many hours you did not die of the womb of your dead mother an you were successfully delivered from her side, to be the joy of the world, and that my soul may live in grace in this earthly world, may I imitate your live and exemplary holiness, so that when the hour of my death comes, I may detest all evil thoughts and temporary wealth of this world, so that with the burning love for God, my soul may reach heaven and together with you and the angels and all the saints, praise God Almighty forever.

Deign to grant me most amiable father the favor I am asking in this novena (mention the request). I firmly believe most amiable father that you will be my protection since you are merciful to any one imploring thy help. But if the favor I am asking will not be for the glory of God and the good of my soul, then beg from God that I will be resigned to his Divine Will, so that I may have the peace of soul while I live, till the hour of my death and that I enjoy true happiness in heaven.

St. LUKE the Apostle - Patron Saint of artists, bachelors, bookbinders, brewers, butchers, doctors, glass makers, glassworkers, lacemakers, lace workers, notaries, painters, physicians, sculptors, stained glass workers, surgeons, unmarried men

St. Luke (lived 1st century AD), in the New Testament, traveled with Saint Paul and evangelized Greece and Rome with him, being there for the shipwreck and other perils of the voyage to Rome He was born in Antioch and died in Greece.

He was a physician and the author of the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel According to Luke. The feast day of Saint Luke is October 18, and he is known as the patron saint of physicians, artists, brewers, and butchers.

Prayer to Saint Luke

Most charming and saintly Physician, you were animated by the heavenly Spirit of love. In faithfully detailing the humanity of Jesus, you also showed his divinity and his genuine compassion for all human beings. Inspire our physicians with your professionalism and with the divine compassion for their patients. Enable them to cure the ills of both body and spirit that afflict so many in our day. Amen.

St. Michael Archangel - patron saint of Grocers, Soldiers, Policemen, and Protection against illness.

Saint Michael is one of the seven archangels and presumed to be leader of the and guardian angel of Israel. According to the Book of Enoch, Michael and his faithful troops defeated the rebel archangel Lucifer and his followers, casting them into Hell. Michael has been known as the patron of the sick and of grocers, sailors, and soldiers; he is also the patron saint of Germany. In art he appears holding scales or a banner and flourishing a sword against a dragon. Beginning in 1970 Michael's feast day was combined with that of the archangels Gabriel and Raphael on September 29.

Novena Prayer to St. Michael

Saint Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and his people, I turn to you with confidence and seek your powerful intercession. For the love of God, who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the angels, be pleased to hear my prayer. You know the value of my soul in the eyes of God. May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty. Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me. I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and men. And since you are God's messenger for the care of his people, I entrust to you this special request. (please mention your request here.)

Saint Michael, since you are, by the will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers. I earnestly trust that if it is God's holy will, my petition will be granted.
Pray for me Saint Michael, and also for those I love. Protect us in all dangers of body and soul. Help us in our daily needs. Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven, where we may praise and love God with you forever. Amen
(Recite one "Our Father", one "Hail Mary", one "Glory Be") Say this novena nine times in a row, for nine days in a row.

St. Theresa, the little flower of Jesus - patron saint of foreign missionaries and aviators, France

St. Theresa of Lisieux, Saint (1873-97) also called The Little Flower of Jesus, she became one of the most beloved saints of the Roman Catholic Church. Born at Alençon, France, she was originally named Thérèse Martin. Since she was a little girl, she harbored deep piety that later led her to enter the Carmelite convent in Lisieux at the age of 15. She remained in the convent for the rest of her life.

Theresa held a devotion to God that was both childlike and profound. She promoted holiness through the dedicated performance of humble tasks. A written account of her life; The Story of a Soul (1898; trans. 1958) is one of the most widely read spiritual autobiographies. She was canonized in 1925. She is the patron saint of foreign missionaries and aviators, and-with Joan of Arc-she is the patron saint of France. Her feast day is October 3.

Prayer to St. Therese

O little St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, who during your short life on earth became a mirror of angelic purity, of love strong as death, and of wholehearted abandonment to God, now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues, cast a glance of pity on me as I leave all things in your hands. Make my troubles your own - speak a word for me to our Lady Immaculate, whose flower of special love you were - to that Queen of heaven "who smiled on you at the dawn of life." Beg her as the Queen of the heart of Jesus to obtain for me by her powerful intercession, the grace I yearn for so ardently at this moment, and that she join with it a blessing that may strengthen me during life. Defend me at the hour of death, and lead me straight on to a happy eternity. Amen.

Saint Therese, the LittleFlower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more.
(The above prayer, plus 5 Our Father's, 5 Hail Mary's and 5 Glory Be's must be said on 5 successive days, before 11 a.m. On the 5th day, the 5th set of prayers having been completed, offer one more set - 5 Our Father's, 5 Hail Mary's and 5 Glory Be's.)

St. JEROME EMILIANI - patron of abandoned people, orphans

St. Jerome was born in 1481 in Venice, Italy and died in 1537 of a disease he caught while tending to the sick. He was a soldier in Venice. When captured, he prayed to Our Lady and was miraculously freed. He then became a priest and founded three orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes and a hospital. Founded the Order of Somaschi c.1532, a congregation of clerks regular vowed to the care of orphans. He was canonized in 1767. His feast day is February 8.

Prayer to Saint Jerome Emiliani

O Saint Jerome Emiliani, our country is in such need of your powerful intercession before the throne of God. So many children are orphans of broken homes, some are missing and others have been used for evil purposes on our city streets. Even worse than this, people are killing children before they are even born. Inspire parents to adopt orphans. Help us to have your fervor for all children, especially those in most need. Finally, we ask you to transform us into children so that we may one day enter the Kingdom of Heaven and with you praise the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever. Amen.

St. MONICA - patroness of abuse victims, alcoholics, alcoholism, difficult marriages, disappointing children, homemakers, housewives, married women, mothers, victims of adultery, victims of unfaithfulness, victims of verbal abuse, widows, wives

St. Monica was the mother of Saint Augustine of Hippo. Born in 322 in Algeria and died 387 in Ostia, Italy. A Christian from birth, she suffered in an arranged marriage to a irascible philandering pagan named Patricius. St. Monica prayed unceasingly for the conversion of her husband (who converted on his deathbed), and her son (who converted after a wild life). She was a reformed alcoholic and a spiritual student of Saint Ambrose of Milan.. Her feast day is August 27.

Prayer to Saint Monica

Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day so that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray. Amen.

St. JOHN the Apostle - Patron against poison, art dealers, Asia Minor, authors, bookbinders, booksellers, burns, editors, engravers, friendships, lithographers, painters, papermakers, poisoning, publishers, tanners, Taos New Mexico, theologians, writers

Also known as John the Evangelist; John the Divine; Beloved Apostle

St. John was the son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of Saint James the Great, and called one of the Sons of Thunder. He was a disciple of Saint John the Baptist and a friend of Saint Peter. Called by Jesus during the 1st year of His ministry, and traveled everywhere with Him, becoming so close as to be known as the beloved disciple. He was the only apostle who did not to forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion, standing at the foot of the cross. Made guardian of Our Lady by Jesus, he took her into his home. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize Him.

Prayer to Saint John the Evangelist

O Glorious Saint John, you were so loved by Jesus that you merited to rest your head upon his breast, and to be left in his place as a son to Mary. Obtain for us an ardent love for Jesus and Mary. Let me be united with them now on earth and forever after in heaven. Amen.

St. Thomas More - Patron saint of adopted children, civil servants, court clerks, difficult marriages, large families, lawyers, step-parents, widowers

St. Thomas More (1478 - 1535) studied in London and Oxford. He was a page for the Archbishop of Canterbury and a lawyer. Twice married, he was the father of one son and three daughters and was a devoted family man. Martyred for his refusal to bend his religious beliefs to the king's political needs. His feast day is June 22. Canonized in 1935. He was beheaded 1535; his head kept in the Roper Vault, Saint Dunstan's church, Canterbury, England while his body is at Saint Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London

Prayer to Saint Thomas More

Dear Scholar and Martyr, it was not the King of England but you who were the true Defender of the Faith. Like Christ unjustly condemned, neither promises nor threats could make you accept a civil ruler as head of the Christian Church. Perfect in your honesty and love of truth, grant that lawyers and judges may imitate you and achieve true justice for all people. Amen.

St. Teresa/Theresa of Avila - Patron Saint of bodily ills, headaches, lacemakers, laceworkers, loss of parents, opposition of Church authorities, people in need of grace, people in religious orders,people ridiculed for their piety, sick people, sickness, Spain

St. Theresa of Avila was a Spanish noble, the daughter of Don Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda and Doña Beatriz. She grew up reading the lives of the saints, and playing at "hermit" in the garden. Crippled by disease in her youth, she was cured after prayer to Saint Joseph. Her father opposed her entry to religious life, so she left home without telling anyone, and entered a Carmelite house at 17. Seeing her conviction to her call, her father and family consented. Soon after taking her vows, Teresa became gravely ill, and the lousy medical help she received only aggravated her condition; she never fully recovered her health. She began receiving visions, and was examined by Dominicans and Jesuits, including Saint Francis Borgia, who pronounced the visions to be holy and true. She founded a reformed convent of Saint John of Avila. Mystical writer. She was beatified in 1614 and canonized in 1622. Proclaimed Doctor of the Church on 27 September 1970 by Pope Paul VI.Her feast day is October 15.

Prayer to Saint Teresa of Avila

Dear wonderful Saint, model of fidelity to vows, you gladly carried a heavy cross following in the steps of Christ who chose to be crucified for us. You realized that God, like a merciful Father, chastises those whom he loves - which to worldlings seems silly indeed. Grant to {name of sufferer} relief from grant pains, if this is in line with God's plans.