A Saint’s Novena for Desperate Situations

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What is a novena? Who is St. Jude? Before my life took on a deeper spiritual dimension, I had did not know the answer to those questions.

While reading about St. Jude Hospital, founded by entertainer Danny Thomas after his novena to St. Jude was answered, I became intrigued by those questions. St. Jude is known as the patron saint of impossible causes. Perhaps it’s because he was one of two apostles named Judas—Judas Iscariot being the traitor of Jesus and Judas Thaddeus an entirely different apostle who has become known as the Saint of Impossible causes. He is also often referred to as Jude to further separate him from the traitor.

As fate would have it, just as I learned that there was a saint to pray for when situations seemed hopeless, I had just such an intention. It began when my husband Mark lost his job. For the first time we began to pray a different way. Whenever Mark was turned down for a job, our prayers gave us peace that it just was not God’s will for us.

When a solid job offer did finally come, it was from a person who had heard about Mark from someone else. He had not even applied! Surely, God had taken care of everything.

We put our house up for sale but needed to move out of state before it sold and had to rent it out. The renters trashed it and real estate agents told us it would never sell in that condition. Being so far away and strapped financially, we felt helpless. Mark was concerned that foreclosure would be our only way out.

This is the time I learned about St. Jude. I located a novena prayer card (quite a feat pre-Internet days), and we prayed it together nightly for nine days. That is the length of days of the first novena prayed by the apostles and the Blessed Mother from the Ascension of Jesus to the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday.

As soon as we finished the novena, our renters called to say they were leaving the next day. We were shocked. “They can’t just leave, they signed a lease,” Mark said. “How will we pay the mortgage?”

“Maybe it is an answer to our novena,” I suggested. I did not know how we could afford two houses, but it would never sell with those renters in it. Within a couple days, my husband’s parents called us from Hawaii where they had just moved to. They had a sudden change of heart and wanted to return to the mainland. What did we think about them renting our house and fixing it up? Then we could split the profit when it sold. A few months later, the house looked better than ever and sold quickly. Our seemingly impossible situation completely turned around. Thank you for your intercession, St. Jude!

It’s not about superstition but about faith in God and his saints when situations seem beyond our control. Regardless of the answer, we will be helped in some way through our prayers.

Novena to St. Jude

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.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons

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