“Tis the season to be jolly,” the Christmas carol says. Yes, the holiday season brings a lot of reasons to smile and be happy, but it’s also a time of difficulty for many people. Some people have had a tough year full of loneliness and/or loss, unfortunately made worse by the holiday season. Other people may be struggling with mental health issues, some of which may be due to things such as a chemical imbalance or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Although they may try to stay focused on the “reason for the season,” Christmas and New Years remains a challenge. Quoting St. Pio of Pietrelcina’s “Pray, hope, and don’t worry” may seem like a good idea to a friend, quote but those who struggle with the season know that it’s sometimes easier said, than done.
Not to be ignored, Catholics have a slew of wonderful Heavenly friends that can help us out. Here are five saints whose intercession you should seek.
This young Irish saint is recognized by many as the patron saint against all kinds of mental illnesses. St. Dymphna died a martyr when she refused her father’s advances due to grief-induced madness following her mother’s death.
Her intercessory prayer is as follows:
“Good St. Dymphna, great wonder-worker in every affliction of mind and body, I humbly implore your powerful intercession with Jesus through Mary, the Health of the Sick, in my present need. (Insert intention). St. Dymphna, martyr of purity, patroness of those who suffer with nervous and mental afflictions, beloved child of Jesus andMary, pray to Them for me and obtain my request.”
St. Louis Martin
The father of the Little Flower is said to have suffered from depression and other mental afflictions in his later years following a series of health issues. St. Therese also suffered from depression and an extreme sensitivity as a child so he was a witness to this cross that many carry. A novena for his intercession for depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders can be found here.
St. Benedict Joseph Labre
This French saint was an outcast for most of his life, having both physical and mental issues. During his life, he struggled with scrupulosity and a deep sensitivity. Others would see the homeless St. Benedict Joseph and steer clear of him. They would mock and even throw things at him. You can find a great litany to St. Benedict Joseph here.
St. John Vianney
The patron saint of priests, this pious and holy man was known to spend up to sixteen hours a day hearing confession. What most don’t know is that he also suffered from depression throughout his life. A wonderful prayer and novena to this extraordinary saint can be found here.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
St. Elizabeth is often known as the patron of teachers and of widows, but she would also be a great patroness against depression. As a young woman, she was prone to melancholy and even struggled with thoughts of suicide during her bouts of depression in adolescence. Tragedy befell her through most of her life but she never gave up nor did she let the events bring her down.
A simple but effective prayer to her is as follows:
“Oh, God our Father, glorify here upon earth your servant, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, by manifesting the power of her intercession through the favor I now implore. (Insert intention). We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, foreve and ever. Amen.”
Remember that you can always ask any of these saints or your own person patron to intercede for you to help you find the right help you need to survive this season. You are not alone in this struggle and you have an entire army of saints more than happy to help you during this difficult time.