Inspiring Stories

While this is not a Roman Catholic website, I feel that the stories of the Saints are truly inspiring. Catholics don’t pray “To” Saints, they pray with them. Since Catholics believe that saints led holy lives and are close to God in heaven, they feel that their prayers are particularly effective. Often they ask particular saints to pray for them if they feel they have a particular interest in their problem. For example, many people ask Saint Monica to pray for them if they have trouble with unanswered prayers, because Monica prayed for twenty years for her son to be converted. Finally her prayers were answered in a way she never dreamed of — her son, Augustine, became a canonized saint and a Doctor of the Church.

Saint Alyssa
Patron Saint of the Sick
“St. Alyssa (Ayssa is a modern variant of the name Alice) ) was born at Shaerbeck, near Brussels. At the age of seven, she entered a Cistercian convent named Camera Sanctae Mariae, and she remained there for the rest of her life. The Cistercian community was inspired by her spirit of humility. However, at an early age, she contracted leprosy and had to be isolated. The disease caused Alyssa intense suffering, and eventually she became paralyzed and was afflicted with blindness. Alyssa’s greatest consolation came from reception of the Holy Eucharist, although she was not allowed to drink from the cup because of the danger of contagion. Known for visions and ecstasies, she died in 1250.

Saint Bernadette
Patron Saint of The Sick,
Those Ridiculed for Their Piety

“St. Bernadette is the famed visionary of Lourdes, baptized Mary Bernard, oldest of six children in a very poor family. She was born in Lourdes, France, on January 7, 1844. Bernadette, a severe asthma sufferer, lived in abject poverty.

On February 11, 1858, she was granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cave on the banks of the Gave River near Lourdes. She was placed in consider able jeopardy when she reported the vision, and crowds gathered when she had further visits from the Virgin. The civil authorities tried to frighten Bernadette into recanting her accounts, but she remained faithful to the vision. On February 25, a spring emerged from the cave and the waters were discovered to be of a miraculous nature, capable of healing the sick and lame. On March 25, Bernadette announced that the vision stated that she was the Immaculate Conception, and that a church should be erected on the site. Many authorities tried to shut down the spring and delay the construction of the chapel, but the influence and fame of the visions reached Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon III, and construction went forward.

In 1866, Bernadette was sent to the Sisters of Notre Dame in Nevers. There she became a member of the community, and faced some rather harsh treatment from the mistress of novices. This oppression ended when it was discovered that she suffered from a painful, incurable illness. She died in Nevers on April 16,1879, still giving the same account of her visions.

Lourdes became one of the major pilgrimage destinations in the world, and the spring has produced 27,000 gallons of water each week since emerging during Bernadette’s visions. She was not involved in the building of the shrine, as she remained hidden at Nevers. Bernadette was beatified in 1925 and canonized in 1933 by Pope Pius XI.

Prayer to Saint Bernadette
“O God, protector and lover of the humble, You bestowed on Your servant, Bernadette, the favor of the vision of Our Lady, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, and of speech with her. Grant that we may deserve to behold You in heaven. Amen.”

Saint Camillus
Patron Saint of Hospitals, Nurses

“St. Camillus was born in 1550 at Naples, Italy. He was the son of a military officer who had served both for Naples and France. After his mother died when he was very young he spent his youth as a soldier, fighting for the Venetians against the Turks, and then for Naples. He was reported to be a large individual, perhaps as tall as 6’6”, and powerfully built. Also a gambling addict, he lost so much he had to take a job working construction on a building belonging to the Capuchins; who converted him.

He entered the Capuchin noviate three times, but a nagging leg injury, received while fighting the Turks, forced him each time to give up. He went to Rome for medical treatment where St. Philip Neri became his priest and confessor. He moved into San Giacomo Hospital for the incurable, and eventually became its administrator. Lacking education, he began to study with children when he was thirty-two years old. He became a priest and founded the Congregation of the Servants of the Sick (the Camellians) who care for the sick both in hospital and home. The order expanded with houses in several countries.

Camillus honored the sick as living images of Christ, and hoped that the service he gave them did penance for his wayward youth. He died July 14, 1614 at Genoa, Italy.

Saint Hugh
Patron Saint of Sick Children, Sick People, Swans

“St. Hugh was the son of William, Lord of Avalon. His mother Anna died when he was 8, and he was raised and educated at a convent at Villard-Benoit. He became a monk at age fifteen, and a deacon at age nineteen. He was the Prior of a monastery at Saint-Maxim. In 1175 he became abbot of the first English Carthusian monastery, which was built by King Henry II as part of his penance for the murder of Thomas Becket.

His reputation for holiness spread through England, and attracted many to the monastery. He admonished Henry for keeping dioceses vacant in order to keep their income for the throne. He was made bishop of Lincoln September 21, 1181 and restored clerical discipline in his see. He rebuilt the Lincoln cathedral, destroyed by earthquake in 1185.

St. Henry denounced the mass persecution of Jews in England in 1190-91, repeatedly facing down armed mobs, making them release their victims. He worked as a Diplomat to France for King John in 1199, a trip that ruined his health. While attending a national council in London a few months later, he was stricken with an unnamed ailment, and died two months later.”

Saint Isabella
Patron Saint of the Sick

“St. Isabella with the sister of St. Louis and daughter of King Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile. She refused offers of marriage from several noble suitors to continue her life consecrated to God.

She ministered to the sick and the poor, and after the death of her mother, founded the Franciscan Monastery of the Humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Longchamps in Paris. She lived there in austerity but never became a nun and refused to become abbess. She died there on February 23, and her cult was approved in 1521.”

Saint Jane
Patron Saint of Prisoners, The Sick

“St. Jane was the daughter of a tanner. Her mother died when Jane was 16 years old, leaving the girl to manage the family and help her father raise her younger siblings. She joined the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in 1787 at Paris, and worked in various hospitals over the next five years. During the suppression of religious orders in the French Revolution, she was ordered to return home to a secular life. Jane refused, and tried to escape the authorities. She was beaten so badly that it took months to recover.

She finally returned on foot to Sancey where she cared for the sick, and opened a small school for girls. In the late 1790’s, the government repression forced her to flee to Switzerland. There she teamed up with other exiled religious and clergy to minister to the sick. However, due to anti-Catholic prejudice, the group was forced to move on to Germany.

Jane later returned to Landeron, Switzerland where she founded a school and hospital for her Order, and in 1799 the school opened in Besan√ßon. The congregation Jane founded to run these institutions was the Institute of the Daughters of Saint Vincent de Paul. Her people soon began to expand, to operate other schools and hospitals in France, Switzerland, and Italy, and moved into prison ministry. The Institute received papal approval in 1819. St. Jane died in 1828 at Naples, Italy of natural causes.”

Saint Julia
Patron Saint of Sick People, Bodily Ills
“Juliana Falconieri was the only child of a wealthy Florentine noble family. Her father died when she was very young. Legend says she never gazed into a mirror, never looked at a man’s face, trembled at the mention of sin, and fainted upon hearing scandalous gossip.

St. Julia refused an arranged marriage at age 14 and became a Servite tertiary at 16. She helped form, and served as first superior of the Servite Order of Mary (Servite Nuns, the Mantellate Servites), which was formally established in 1304.

She had chronic gastric problems throughout her life. At her death, unable to receive Holy Communion because of constant vomiting, she requested the priest to spread a corporal upon her breast and lay the Host on it. Soon after, the Host disappeared, Juliana died, and the image of the cross that had been on the Host was found on her breast.”

Saint Julia Said
“I ought to die of shame to think I have not already died of gratitude to my good God.”
Saint Lazarus
Patron Saint of Hospitals, Lepers,
The Order of St. Lazarus

“Lazarus is the poor man at the gate of the rich man in Christ’s parable related in Luke (Luke 16:19-31). His name was perpetuated in the Middle Ages by such words as Lazaretto (hospital), Lazarone (a beggar in the street), and the Order of St. Lazarus.

The Order of Saint Lazarus was founded in the 12th century to provide nursing for lepers, taking Lazarus as it’s patron. The knights of the order were lepers, and besides helping their fellow sufferers, they carried out military duties. They founded a hospital for lepers near the northern wall of Jerusalem.

Saint Lucy
Patron Saint of the Blind, Those with Eye Trouble

“Lucy’s name means light, with the same root as lucid which means clear, radiant, understandable. All we really know for certain is that this brave woman lived in Syracuse, Sicily and lost her life in the persecution of Christians in the early fourth century.

Because people wanted to shed light on Lucy’s bravery, legends grew up. One tells the story of a young Christian woman who had vowed her life to the service of Christ. Her mother tried to arrange a marriage for her with a pagan. Lucy devised a plan to convince her mother that Christ was a much more powerful partner for life. Through prayers at the tomb of Saint Agatha, her mother’s long illness was cured miraculously. Her grateful mother listened to Lucy’s desire to give her money to the poor and commit her life to God. Unfortunately, legend has it, the rejected bridegroom did not see the same light and he betrayed Lucy to the governor as a Christian. This governor tried to send her into prostitution but the guards who came to take her way found her stiff and heavy as a mountain. Finally she was killed.

As much as the facts of Lucy’s specific case are unknown, we know that many Christians suffered incredible torture and a painful death for their faith during Diocletian’s reign. Another legend is that Lucy’s eyes were put out by Diocletian as part of this torture. The legend concludes with God restoring Lucy’s eyes.

Saint Luke
Patron Saint of Physicians & Surgeons, Artists, Glass Workers, Painters

“Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul’s Luke, the beloved physician (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke’s life from Scripture and from early Church historians. It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. Scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave.

Luke first joined Paul’s company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia. Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome (II Timothy 4:11). His is the gospel of the poor and of social justice.

Reading Luke’s gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God’s kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God’s mercy for everyone. Forgiveness and God’s mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Throughout Luke’s gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God’s mercy.

The reports of Luke’s life after Paul’s death are conflicting. Some early writers claim he was martyred, others say he lived a long life. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. The earliest tradition we have says that he died at 84 after settling in Greece to write his Gospel.”

Prayer to St. 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.”

A Physician’s Prayer
“Lord, Thou Great Physician, I kneel before Thee. Since every good and perfect gift must come from Thee, I Pray: Give skill to my hand, clear vision to my mind, kindness and sympathy to my heart. Give me singleness of purpose, strength to lift at least a part of the burden of my suffering fellow men, and a true realization of the rare privilege that is mine. Take from my heart all guile and worldliness, that with the simple faith of a child I may rely on Thee. Amen.”

Saint Padre Pio
Patron Saint of the Sick

“Francesco Forgione was born in 1887 at Pietrelcina, Benevento, Italy to a southern Italian farm family, the son of a shepherd. At age fifteen he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars in Morcone, and joined the order at age nineteen, and was ordained in 1910 at age twenty-two.

While praying before a cross, he received the stigmata on September 20, 1918; the first priest ever to be so blessed. As word spread, especially after American soldiers brought home stories of Padre Pio following WWII, the priest himself became a point of pilgrimage for both the pious and the curious. He would hear confessions by the hour, reportedly able to read the consciences of those who held back. He was also reportedly able to bi-locate, levitate, and heal by touch. Padre Pio founded the House for the Relief of Suffering in 1956, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year. In the 1920’s he started a series of prayer groups that continue today with over 400,000 members worldwide. He died September 23, 1968 of natural causes.

His canonization miracle involved the cure of Matteo Pio Colella, age 7, the son of a doctor who works in the House for Relief of Suffering. On the night of June 20, 2000, Matteo was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital with meningitis. By morning doctors had lost hope for him as nine of the boy’s internal organs had ceased to show signs of life. That night, during a prayer vigil attended by Matteo¬¥s mother and some Capuchin friars from Padre Pio’s monastery, the child’s condition improved suddenly. When he awoke from the coma, Matteo said that he had seen an elderly man with a white beard and a long, brown habit, who said to him: “Don’t worry, you will soon be cured.” The miracle was approved by the Congregation and Pope John Paul II on December 20, 2001. He was canonized June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy.

Saint Peregrine
Patron Saint of Cancer Patients, AIDS Sufferers

“Peregrine Laziosi was born of a wealthy family at Forli, Italy, in 1260. As a youth he was active in politics as a member of the anti-papal party. During one uprising, which the Pope sent St. Philip Benizi to mediate, Philip was struck in the face by Peregrine. When Philip offered the other cheek, Peregrine was so overcome that he repented and converted to Catholicism.

Following the instructions of the Virgin Mary he received in a vision, Peregrine went to Siena and joined the Servites. It is believed that he never allowed himself to sit down for thirty years, while as far as possible, observing silence and solitude. An ideal priest, he had a reputation for fervent preaching and being a good confessor.

When he was afflicted with cancer of the foot and amputation had been decided upon he spent the night before the operation in prayer. The following morning he was completely cured. This miracle caused his reputation to become widespread. He died in 1345 at the age of eighty-five, and he was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.

St. Peregrine, like St. Paul, was in open defiance of the Church as a youth. Once given the grace of conversion he became one of the great saints of his time.”

Prayer to St. Peregrine
ÒDear Apostle of Emilia and member of the Order of Mary, you spread the Good News by your word and by your life witnessed to its truth. In union with Jesus Crucified, you endured excruciating sufferings so patiently as to be healed miraculously of cancer in the leg. If it is agreeable to God, obtain relief and cure for (mention request) and keep us all from the dread cancer of sin. Amen.

Saint Raphael The Archangel
Patron Saint of Nurses, Pharmacists, Happy Meetings, Travelers, The Blind
“St. Raphael is one of seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord. Raphael, Michael and Gabriel are the only Archangels mentioned by name in the bible.

Raphael’s name means God heals. This identity came about because of the biblical story which claims that he healed the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels in the apocryphal book of Enoch. Raphael is also identified as the angel who moved the waters of the healing pool by the Sheep Gate of Jerusalem (John 5:1-4).

Raphael is the angel from the deutero-canonical book of Tobit. In it he he travelled with and guarded Tobiah. Tobiah was betrothed to Sarah, who had seven previous bridegrooms perish on the night of their weddings to her. Raphael accompanied Tobiah into Media disguised as a man named Azariah and taught him how to safely enter marriage with Sarah. Tobiah also gave Raphael credit for his father’s seeing the light of heaven and for receiving all good things through his intercession.”

Prayer to St. Raphael
“Dear St. Raphael, your lovely name means God heals. The Lord sent you to young Tobiah to guide him throughout a long journey. Upon his return you taught him how to cure his father’s blindness. How natural, therefore, for Christians to pray for your powerful help for safe travel and a happy return. This is what we ask for ourselves as well as for all who are far from home. Amen.?

Prayer to St. Raphael
“O God who in Thy ineffable goodness hast rendered blessed Raphael the conductor of thy faithful in their journeys, we humbly implore Thee that we may be conducted by him in the way of salvation, and experience his help in the maladies of our souls. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.”

Saint Rebecca
Patron Saint of The Sick, Those Who have Lost Parents

Saint Rebecca was born June 29, 1832 at Himlaya, Lebanon as Boutrossieh Ar-Rayes. She was an only child. Her mother died when Rebecca was six and when her father remarried she and her step-mother did not get along. Rebecca announced at age 14 that she felt a call to religious life. Her father objected, but at 21 she became a nun in the Marian Order of the Immaculate Conception at Bikfaya; making her final vows in 1856.

In 1871, her order merged with the order of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The sisters were given the choice of joining the new combined order, joining other orders, or being released from their vows. Following dreams in which Saint Anthony the Great appeared to her, she joined the Lebanese Order of Saint Anthony of the Maronites (Baladiya Order) on 12 July 1871, a novice at age 39, taking the new religious name of Rafqa (= Rebecca).

On the feast of the Holy Rosary in 1885, Rebecca prayed that she might share Christ’s sufferings. Her health began to deteriorate, and she was soon blind and crippled. She spent as much of her remaining thirty years in prayer as she could, but always insisted on working in the convent as well as she could with her disabilities, usually spinning wool and knitting.

Late in life her close friend and supporter, Mother Superior Ursula Doumit, ordered her to dictate her autobiography, and Rebecca complied. Near the time of her death, Rebecca asked that her sight be restored for a single hour so she could again see the face of Mother Ursula – the hour of sight was granted. She died March 23, 1914 at the Convent of Saint Joseph, Grabta, Lebanon.

Beginning four days after her death, miraculous cures were recorded at Rebecca’s grave, the first being Mother Doumit whose throat was slowly closing so there was fear she would starve to death. Elizabeth En-Nakhel from Tourza, northern Lebanon, was cured from uterine cancer through Rebecca, in 1938. This was the miracle which permitted her beatification in November of 1985. Saint Rebecca was canonized June 10, 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Saint Roch (Rocco)
Patron Saint of Invalids, Bachelors, Dogs, Knee Problems, Surgeons, Tile Makers

“St. Roch (Rocco) was a French noble who early developed a sympathy for the poor and sick. While on pilgrimage St. Roch encountered an area afflicted with plague. He stayed to minister to the sick, and affected several miraculous cures, but contracted the plague himself. He walked into a forest to die, but was befriended by a dog. The dog fed him with food stolen from his master’s table, and Roch eventually recovered.

When Roch returned to France, he was charged with spying. He languished in jail for five years, never mentioning his noble connections, cared for by an angel until his death; when he was identified by a birthmark in the form of a cross on his chest.

He is known as St. Rocco in Italy and St. Roque in Spain.”

Saint Stephen
Patron Saint of Headache Sufferers, Stonemasons, Coffin Makers, Horses

“Stephen’s name means ‘crown,’ and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr’s crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The apostles had found that they needed helpers to look after the care of the widows and the poor, so they ordained seven deacons, and Stephen is the most famous of these.

God worked many miracles through St. Stephen and he spoke with such wisdom and grace that many of his hearers became followers of Jesus. While preaching the Gospel in the streets, angry Jews who believed his message to be blasphemy dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death. The saint prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then he fell to his knees and begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him. In the crowd was a man who would later be known as Saint Paul.

Prayer to Saint Stephen
“Dear Saint Stephen first deacon and martyr, you are the patron saint and model for all deacons. You gave your life unafraid, valiantly speaking the truth you forgave those who were you persecutors. With love we mold our lives after yours. May we gain courage and strength from the wisdom and faith that you possessed as gifted by the Holy Spirit. Intercede for us, oh powerful Saint Stephen, that we may quietly reach out to the poor and the lonely, not seeking recognition for ourselves, but to honor the name of our Lord Jesus, the Savior. You who had the face of an angel guide our path – we ask all of this through the prayer of our Lord Jesus, the Christ. Amen.”

Prayer re Saint Stephen
“We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand: where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.”

Saint Timothy
Patron Saint of Stomach Trouble

“Born at Lystra, Lycaenia St. Timothy was the son of a Greek father and Eunice. He joined St. Paul when Paul preached at Lystra replacing Barnabas, and became Paul’s close friend and confidant.

When Paul was forced to flee Berea, Timothy remained. After a time he was sent to Thessalonica to report on the condition of the Christians there and to encourage them under persecution, a report that led to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians when he joined Timothy at Corinth. Timothy and Erastus were sent to Macedonia in 58, went to Corinth to remind the Corinthians of Paul’s teaching, and then accompanied Paul into Macedonia and Achaia.

Timothy was probably with Paul when the Apostle was imprisoned at Caesarea and then Rome, and was himself imprisoned but then freed. According to tradition, he went to Ephesus, became its first bishop, and was stoned to death there for opposing the worship of Dionysius . Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, one written about 65 from Macedonia and the second from Rome while he was in prison awaiting execution.”

Prayer to Saint Timothy
“Dear Saint, well known for your gentleness, you were a most faithful disciple of Saint Paul, and like him traveled much to bring the Good News to all people. The Letters Paul wrote to you reveal your zeal and inspire us with confidence in you. You too were cast into prison and you too gave your life for Christ. So with confidence we dare to ask, please obtain relief for {name of sufferer}, if it be God’s will.”

Saint Therese (Theresa) of Lisieux
Patron Saint of AIDS Sufferers, Australia, Pilots, Florists, Missions, France

“Often called the ‘Little Flower,’ Therese was born in France in 1873, the pampered daughter of a middle-class family. Tragedy and loss came quickly when her mother died of breast cancer when Therese was four. At eight she became so ill with a fever that people thought she was dying. When Therese saw her sisters praying to statue of Mary in her room, she also prayed. She saw Mary smile at her and she was cured.

At fifteen Therese was admitted to the Carmelite convent her sisters Pauline and Marie had already joined. Her life was short however, and she died on September 30, 1897 at the age of 24. Pauline put together Therese’s writings about her ‘little way’of trusting in Jesus to make her holy, and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds, and sent them to other convents. These writings appealed to the thousands of Catholics and others who were trying to find holiness in ordinary lives. She was canonized in 1925.

St. Therese wrote: ‘Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.'”

Prayer to St. Therese
“O Little Flower of Jesus, ever consoling troubled souls with heavenly graces, in your unfailing intercession I place my trust. From the Heart of Our Blessed Savior petition these blessing of which I stand in greatest need (mention here). Shower upon me your promised roses of virtue and grace, dear Saint Therese, so that swiftly advancing in sanctity and in perfect love of neighbor, I may someday receive the crown of eternal life. Amen.Ó

Prayer to St. Therese
ÒDear Little Flower of Lisieux, how wonderful was the short life you led. Though cloistered, you went far and wide through fervent prayers and great sufferings. You obtained from God untold helps and graces for his evangelists. Help all missionaries in their work and teach all of us to spread Christianity in our own neighborhoods and family circles. Amen.

Novena to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love. O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands… (mention specific request)

Saint Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God’s great love for me, so that I might imitate your “Little Way” each day. Amen.