St. Jude

About St Jude

Holy Card with Image of St JudeThough he is sometimes called “the Forgotten Saint”, St. Jude has never been one to forget those who turn to him. Unlike other saints who are given a limited and narrow patronage, St. Jude Thaddeus is invoked in innumerable situations, as the patron saint for all those cases which are most desperate, most hopeless, and most impossible.

Little has been handed down about the life of the apostle St. Jude. Though he was a disciple of Christ throughout His public ministry, St. Jude was quote only once in the gospels: During the last supper, St. Jude asked a question which led Christ to reveal the doctrine of indwelling of the Holy Trinity. After the resurrection, St. Jude was faithful to the command that he and the other apostles received, “Go out, making disciples of all nations … teaching them to observe all the commandments which I have given you,” (Matthew 28:19-20).

According to tradition, St. Jude preached in Judea, Samaria, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya. He was later martyred, though accounts of his martyrdom vary; some say he was martyred in Persia and others say that he was martyred in Syria (modern Beirut). He may have been clubbed to death or attacked with an axe, which is why he is sometimes depicted in art with those instruments. Eventually, his relics were transferred to Rome, where his is buried in the crypt at St. Peters Basilica.

His tomb became a popular place of pilgrimage and devotion to St. Jude was very strong in the middle ages. In one of the visions of St. Bridget of Sweden, who lived in the 14th century, the Lord particularly recommended that she invoke St. Jude with the following words, “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself most willing to give help.” (source)

However, devotion to the saint decreased, almost disappearing, as the saint was often confused with Judas Iscariot because of their similar sounding names. Fortunately, devotion to St. Jude was reintroduced in the United States when it was most desperately needed, at the start of the Great Depression and during World War II. Because of his powerful intercession and the startling number of answered prayers, St. Jude Thaddeus quickly grew in popularity, easily becoming a favorite and one of the most loved saints.



Famous for the children’s hospital named after him, St. Jude is also known for being the patron saint of hopeless cases. One of the twelve apostles called by Jesus during His public ministry, the story of St. Jude is much less known. Forgotten by Catholics for many years, this powerful saint’s story is a reminder to be hopeful and trust in God at all times.

Specifics of the early life of St. Jude are not known. The first mention of him is when Jesus called the twelve apostles. St. Jude is also called “Thaddeus,” and at times is called “St. Jude Thaddeus.” He was the brother of another apostle, St. James the Lesser. Referred to as one of the “brethren” of Jesus, it is believed he may have been Jesus’ cousin, as well. Bible scholars suggest that his father was Clopas, and his mother was Mary, a cousin of the Virgin Mary.

Holy Card of St JudeAfter the death and resurrection of Christ, St. Jude was present at Pentecost. He then went out to preach the Gospel in many lands. Some of the countries where he went to share the Good News are Mesopotamia, Libya, and Persia. He traveled with St. Simon, working to build the early Church in these nations.

St. Jude wrote an epistle that appears in the New Testament. It was written to combat heresies that were challenging the Truth at the time. The letter was written to the Church in the East, and was particularly aimed at Christians who were converts from Judaism.

Unwavering in his dedication to Jesus, St. Jude suffered a martyr’s death. His body was brought back to Rome and he was buried under St. Peter’s Basilica. After his death, St. Bridget of Sweden had a vision in which Jesus instructed her to go to St. Jude with confidence and faith. She was also told that St. Jude would show himself to be willing to lovingly lend his assistance. Another saint, St. Bernard, had a similar vision of St. Jude, in which he was told that St. Jude is to be sought after during difficult times and to be regarded as the “Patron Saint of the Impossible.”

During the Middle Ages there was widespread confusion over the name of St. Jude. In Latin, St. Jude’s name, (“Judas”), somehow led to this great saint being associated with Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Christ. Due to this misunderstanding, the once-popular devotion to St. Jude dwindled greatly. Over time, he became rather obscure. It was not until the early 20th century that St. Jude began to reappear among Catholics. In 1929, a priest in Chicago encouraged devotion to St. Jude and built what is now known as the “National Shrine of St. Jude.”

Once the world was reintroduced to St. Jude, his popularity spread very quickly. The historical era to follow included the devastation of the Great Depression and World War II. Many Catholics faced incredibly difficult circumstances, and having a saint whose patronage was “lost causes” gave them great hope. Devotion to St. Jude continued throughout the decades, and he remains a popular intercessor today.

Shop St. Jude Medals and Rosaries

Patronage of St. Jude

  • St. Jude is known in several ways:
  • the patron saint of hopeless cases
  • the patron saint of lost causes
  • the patron saint of the impossible

St. Jude in Art

St. Jude, when depicted in art, often is holding one or more of the following: a club, a book/scroll, and a coin/image. The club signifies his martyrdom. The book/scroll is a reminder that St. Jude penned the book of Jude in the Bible. The coin/image is of Jesus, and the story describing its origin comes from the writings of Eusebius in the 300s. He relates the tradition that King Abgar of Edessa wrote a letter to Jesus Christ, asking Christ to come cure him. The King received a response from Jesus, stating that He would not be able to come to him, but that He would send one of His apostles at a later time. St. Jude went to King Abgar with an image of Christ (some say it was from a piece of cloth on which Jesus left His imprint, similar to St. Veronica’s veil; others say it was a painting of the Lord). When the image was placed upon King Abgar, he was healed. This miracle is recounted in the image that St. Jude holds. At times the artwork can make this image look like a coin; however, the accurate depiction should be the face of Christ in a circular shape.

Additionally, St. Jude is shown in art with a flame over his head. This symbolizes his presence at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in tongues of fire.

St. Jude 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.


Prayer to St. Jude

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, and loved in all the  tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.

May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen

St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen.

Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Blessed be the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Blessed be St. Jude Thaddeus, in all the world and for all Eternity.

(say this prayer, followed by the Our Father and Hail Mary)

Prayer to St. Jude for Those in Great Medical Need

Dear Apostle and Martyr for Christ, you left us an Epistle in the New Testament. With good reason many invoke you when illness is at a desperate stage. We now recommend to your kindness

{name of patient} who is in a critical condition. May the cure of this patient increase his/her faith and love for the Lord of Life, for the glory of our merciful God. Amen.

Prayer to St. Jude

Oh glorious apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies has caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases–of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable; make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded thee of bringing visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need, that I may receive the consolations and succor of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly (mention your request), and that I may bless God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen.



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