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St. Erasmus

Namesake of “St. Elmo's Fire”

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<font size="5"><strong> St. Erasmus - patron saint of labor and delivery This Italian bishop's torturous death in the year 303 included having his intestines pulled out. He is the patron saint of abdominal pains, including labor and childbirth. </font>

Bishop and Martyr: (d. ca. 303)

His life

+ Erasmus (who is also known as Elmo) was the bishop of Formium, Italy.

+ During the persecution of Christians under the emperor Diocletian, he left his diocese and lived in hiding for seven years. A legendary account of his life says that an angel appeared to him and told him to return to his city.

+ As he was returning home, he met a group of soldiers. Erasmus admitted he was a Christian and he was brought before the emperor. After undergoing severe torture, Erasmus was martyred in the Roman Province of Illyricum (modern-day Croatia).

+ Saint Erasmus is honored as a patron saint of sailors and of intestinal ailments and diseases. An altar dedicated to him at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Saint Eramsus is also traditionally honored as one of the “14 Holy Helper” saints who were quite popular during the Middle Ages because they were believed to have special intercessory power.

Worth knowing

The meteorological phenomena known as “St. Elmo’s Fire” is named after this saint.


“The Church everywhere flourishes through the glorious deeds of the holy martyrs. With our own eyes we can judge the truth of our song, that the death of his saints is precious in the sight of the Lord.”—Saint Augustine of Hippo


God of power and mercy,
you gave Erasmus, your martyr, victory over pain and suffering.
Strengthen us who celebrate this day of his triumph
and help us to be victorious over the evils that threaten us.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

(from The Liturgy of the Hours: Common of One Martyr)


Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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