Like many people in this pandemic, I’ve found myself taking up some old practices that my big Catholic family practiced so long ago. This includes baking, of course, as well as canning, fermenting, and other techniques to get more out of your food. But more importantly, I’ve found myself drawn to so many of the prayer practices of my late, lovely Grandma Gladys.
Grandma also baked and cooked quite well. I still use her pickling recipes. But the most important practice she passed on to us was to pray always and trust that God’s will would lead us to Him.
When I was a child, Grandma took it upon herself to take me to Mass and teach me about the many patron saints that filled her litanies. I have a box of her holy cards, medals, and tiny second-class relics from her various trips to shrines and churches. And it was while looking through that box of devotion that I remembered her lesson when she gave me my first prayer card: There is a patron saint for everything because the saints want to aid us.
In recent weeks, many have made a call to St. Corona as a particularly providential saint against the coronavirus. She is indeed an inspiring saint (read about her at this other CE article). I personally ordered St. Corona prayer cards in bulk to give away while I added another prayer card to Grandma’s faithful collection. But there are so many other saints we can call upon and, together, we can call upon them to storm heaven with prayers for our loved ones, our cities, and our Church.
In this uncertain time, while many of us feel powerless and afraid, we can call upon Christ and His saints to comfort us, heal us, and to ultimately lead us to our home in heaven. If you are someone, like me, who is trying to learn how to call upon the saints against the death, fear, and uncertainty of this pandemic, call upon these saints.
St. Joseph is a go-to saint for many faithful throughout the world. He is the loving father figure to Jesus and also the spouse of Mary, whom he protected and loved his whole life. I know I am among countless people who has turned to St. Joseph countless times.
There is a long history of Christians consecrating themselves to St. Joseph during a plague. In fact, shortly before the current pandemic, Fr. Donald Calloway launched his ministry to lead people in consecrating themselves to St. Joseph (read about that here). So, a consecration to St. Joseph might be one way we can unite with our Catholic ancestors to bring a swift end to the effects of coronavirus.
If you are not in a place to make a consecration, the St. Joseph novena is an easy prayer to pray for nine days in a row. There are many stories of miracles as a result of this novena and you can use it to turn to St. Joseph in these chaotic times.
He’s more than just the post-modern saint of date nights and roses. St. Valentine is one of many saints that people have turned to in a time of plague. The holy martyr St. Valentine has been revered since ancient times and you can find his relics across the world.
As St. Valentine is reported to have endured intense loneliness in his captivity and martyrdom, he is especially appropriate if you are lonely while sheltering-in-place. St. Valentine, and many more saints, understand the cross of loneliness and are good companions to turn to while many of us face long-term isolation.
St. Roch, also known as St. Rocco, has been one of the most popular saints people turn to in a time of pandemic. This holy man ministered to the sick before his own early death. Almost immediately, towns called upon St. Roch during the black death in Italy and his devotion has spread from there.
His miraculous works have even come to the United States. In New Orleans, the St. Roch Chapel stands as a testament to this saints protection of the parish during the 1867 yellow fever epidemic that hit the area. The chapel has quite a collection of prosthetics and other tokens of gratitude people have left St. Roch ever since them. There’s also a celebration that takes place in Pittsburgh in honor of St. Roch for his miraculous intercession against a cholera outbreak.
Here is the powerful prayer that has been prayed for ages to ask St. Roch to comfort us and save us from sickness:
Prayer to St. Roch
O Blessed Saint Roch,
Patron of the sick,
Have pity on those
Who lie upon a bed of suffering.
Your power was so great
When you were in this world,
That by the sign of the Cross,
Many were healed of their diseases.
Now that you are in heaven,
Your power is not less.
Offer, then, to God
Our sighs and tears
And obtain for us that health we seek
Through Christ our Lord.
(Repeat the following 3 times)
Saint Roch, pray for us,
That we may be preserved
From all diseases of body and soul.
St. Michael the Archangel
If you’ve ever gone to the Vatican you would have seen the magnificent Castel Sant’Angelo with St. Michael seated atop, sheathing his sword.
Romans know this story quite well: when a pope had a vision of the Archangel Michael and the end of a plague.
In the late sixth century, Pope St. Gregory the Great was in charge of city ravaged by plague. Many were dying daily and the pope was begging the angels to intercede for his city. One day, the saintly pope heard the song of angels and looked upon the palace where he saw St. Michael putting his sword away, signaling the end of the plague. The city recovered and the pope built a statue to the angel atop the castle where he had the vision.
Of course, you can call upon the angels and even your guardian angel to comfort you and your loved ones. But for protection against evil and to bring a swift end to the pandemic, St. Michael is a powerful saint to call on.
St. Bernadette Soubirous
St. Bernadette was one of the many people who caught cholera during a pandemic in 1854 and she would suffer from sever asthma for the rest of her life as a result. For this reason, many who go to Lourdes ask St. Bernadette and Our Lady to cure their asthma and respirtory ailments.
I and and most of my family, as well as a couple close friends, have asthma and are thus high risk if we get COVID-19. I was already asking St. Bernadette for help with my own breathing troubles, but it’s especially a good time to study the life and virtues and St. Bernadette. More importantly, St. Bernadette and Our Lady are two friends we have to walk with us and our family during this crisis.
Of course, there are many more patron saints who are called upon during sickness, plague, and anxiety. We’ll cover more saints to turn to in future articles but tell us in the comments which saints and devotions you find especially helpful and comforting right now.