The last few weeks have been difficult for many of us living in the new reality brought on by COVID-19. While the virus threatens our vulnerable friends, family, and neighbors, you don’t have to be sick to feel its effects. The material and economic realities are hitting us from all sides. In such moments, it’s easy to let our anxieties overcome our spiritual hope.
As a relatively anxious person with a myriad of health problems, my experience over the last few weeks has been rough. This time of quarantine has also been a time of intense prayer for me. I am among those who are at higher risk due to my asthma and chronic bronchitis, making extreme precautions necessary even before our city enacts a shelter-in-place order. But I know this is no time to merely isolate and practice social-distancing. Now is a time to love our neighbor, repent of our sins, and, most importantly, pray harder than we’ve ever prayed before.
Calling Upon the Saints
The Catholic faithful have endured pandemics throughout the Church’s existence. In such times, when people have felt a crushing powerlessness, the faithful have found hope, help, and even miraculous cures through the intercession of the saints. These saints remind us that we aren’t facing this crisis on our own; we have the Lord and His saints who stand ready to intercede for those who call upon them.
Plague columns decorate the city squares of Europe’s great cities, standing as testaments to the power of prayer in the midst of an uncertain epidemic. These large monuments tell the story of whole cities that were saved from plague through the power of the Holy Trinity and the intercession of the saints. And in this time of uncertainty we could use more intercessions for us and our neighbors.
While St. Joseph is a saint I turn to for just about everything, there is one saint I’ve recently learned about whose name seems to hint at a great providence: St. Corona.
Saint Corona, Pray for Us
Not much is known about St. Corona. Like St. Valentine and so many early martyrs, the fullness of her deeds and holiness are known only to God.
Early hagiography tells us that this holy soul had witnessed the martyrdom of St. Victor, a soldier who was executed by his brothers-in-arms for his faith. While Victor was being tortured and disfigured, the brave 16-year-old Corona cried out comforting words and encouragement as Victor held fast to his faith and gave up his life for the Lord. Victor’s persecutors soon turned on Corona and executed her by tying her to drawn palm trees, which ripped her in half when snapped upright, yet the young saint never gave up her faith.
In a time when preaching faith, hope, and love can seem foolish, St. Corona provides a model for clinging to Christ even when all seems lost. As the Coronavirus wreaks havoc and vexes us all, St. Corona gives us an opportunity to remember our faith and cling to hope, no matter the costs.
The name corona, of course, merely means crown and so the name can feel like a coincidence. In this moment, however, while that “corona” anxiety races through our minds, we have a saintly woman named Corona who can help us to shoulder these burdens and provide relief when we need it most.
St. Corona’s feast day, May 14th, is a mere few weeks away. During these weeks, as our movements are restricted and we spend more time in isolation and quarantine, let’s look to St. Corona to learn how to hold onto radical hope and request her intercession to heal the sick and protect us and our neighbors from the scourge of Coronavirus.
Join us in asking St. Corona to storm heaven for miracles big and small. Use this prayer below to call graces down upon all those who are suffering or anxious at this time. If you are moved to get others around you to help in this prayer effort, I strongly suggest the St. Corona prayer cards from Sophia Institute Press, AVAILABLE HERE. Keep one in your wallet, another in your prayer book, and others at your local parishes, gas stations, and supermarkets. Give them out to your family and friends. The more people we can enlist to join us in this prayer, the better. The holy cards also offer others the great gift of hope, hope that we have the prayers of the saints and power of Christ behind us, and that this too shall pass.
Prayer to St. Corona in a Time of Epidemic
Lord Jesus Christ, You came into this world for our salvation. Look kindly on us now, we pray, that we, and all those who serve You, might be kept safe from this epidemic.
Heal those who are sick, comfort the suffering, bring back those who have gone astray, and above all, increase our faith, O Lord.
Give us the grace to follow You and, like the martyr St. Corona, who gave her life for love of You, to take up our crosses daily without fear or hesitation.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
St. Corona, patroness of epidemic victims, pray for us.
Saint Corona prayer cards are available from Sophia Institute Press. Images of prayer cards used with permission.