St. Rita of Cascia, St. Jude Thaddeus, St. Philomena, and St. Gregory Thaumaturgus are widely known for their intercession on behalf of impossible causes.
The communion of saints (communio sanctorum) is the spiritual union of the members of the Christian Church, both living and dead. They are all part of a single “mystical body”, with Christ as the head, in which each member contributes to the good of all and shares in the welfare of all. According tothe Catechism of the Catholic Church, the communion of saints is the Church itself:
What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints? The communion of saints is the Church. Communion with the saints. “It is not merely by the title of example that we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the life of the People of God itself”
Affirmed in the Apostles’ Creed, the communion of saints exists in the three states of the Church, the Churches Militant, Penitent, and Triumphant. The Church Militant (Ecclesia militans) consisting of those alive on earth; the Church Penitent (Ecclesia poenitens) consisting of those undergoing purification in purgatory in preparation for heaven; and the Church Triumphant (Ecclesia triumphans) consisting of those already in heaven. The earliest known use of the term “communion of saints” to refer to this mystical bond uniting both the living and the dead is found in the works of the bishop, theologian, and hymnist Saint Nicetas of Remesiana (c. 335–414). Since then, the notion played a central role in all formulations of the Christian creed.
Christians belonging to the Roman Catholic Church ask the intercession of saints in heaven, whose prayers are seen as helping their fellow Christians on earth, as read in Revelation 5:8. Often in life, we encounter situations where nothing seems to work, and we feel like the world is against us. In such cases, as with everything in life, it is most appropriate to seek out God and beg his divine intervention. Catholics understand saints are helpful in this regard, speedily bringing our petitions to our Heavenly Father. In particular, here are four heavenly helpers who are widely known for their intercession on behalf of impossible causes.
St. Rita of Cascia
A saint from the 15th century, Rita was known during her life for tending to plague victims. She did this without contracting the plague, a miraculous preservation that likely led to her association with impossible causes.
O Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, whose pleadings before thy Divine Lord are almost irresistible, who for thy lavishness in granting favors hast been called the Advocate of the Hopeless and even of the Impossible; St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of such compassionate love for thy Crucified Jesus that thou couldst obtain from Him whatsoever thou askest, on account of which all confidently have recourse to thee expecting, if not always relief, at least comfort; be propitious to our petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy suppliant; be lavish to us, as thou hast been in so many wonderful cases, for the greater glory of God, for the spreading of thine own devotion, and for the consolation of those who trust in thee. We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray thee grant that [here mention your petition]. Pray for us, O holy St. Rita, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
St. Jude Thaddeus
Jude is a saint who was often forgotten throughout history because of his name. Christians didn’t want to pray to him because his name was similar to Judas Iscariot (in Latin his name is “Judas,” but he is not the same person as Judas Iscariot). Jude is a friend of all hopeless causes and is known for his powerful intercession.
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult cases, of things almost despaired of, Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. Intercede with God for me that He bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly [make your request here] and that I may praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor granted me by God and to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.
A young girl from the 3rd century, Philomena would have been forgotten to history if not for a miraculous vision that identified her with a tomb that was discovered over 1,500 years later.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant us the pardon of our sins by the intercession of Saint Philomena, virgin and martyr, who was always pleasing in Thy sight by her eminent chastity and by the profession of every virtue. Amen. Illustrious virgin and martyr, Saint Philomena, behold me prostrate before the throne whereupon it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I entreat thee to intercede for me with God, from the heights of Heaven deign to cast a glance upon thy humble client! Spouse of Christ, sustain me in suffering, fortify me in temptation, protect me in the dangers surrounding me, obtain for me the graces necessary to me, and in particular (Here specify your petition). Above all, assist me at the hour of my death. Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us. Amen. O God, Most Holy Trinity, we thank Thee for the graces Thou didst bestow upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, and upon Thy handmaid Philomena, through whose intercession we implore Thy Mercy. Amen.
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus
Not well known in the Western Church, St. Gregory is known in the East as the “Miracle-Worker,” and there are numerous miracles associated with his life and intercession.
O holy Saint Gregory, confessor and priest of the Lord, I pray thee that thou wouldst intercede with our Lord God for me, that, being purified from all vice, I may please Him in all things, and that He will grant me the peace possessed by all His servants. Amen.
Make sure to visit the slideshow below to meet the noted Fourteen Holy Helpers, venerated together in Roman Catholicism because their intercession is believed to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases. The tradition originated in the 14th century, as a result of the epidemic that became known as the Black Death.