Saints for Every Occasion: 101 of Heaven's Most Powerful Patrons

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Editorial Reviews

History Book Club
Are you newly divorced, having trouble with in-laws, or afflicted with a toothache? Author Craughwell has the saint who can ease your burden. His lively writing makes this book ideal for browsing.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Books about saints are nearly as numerous as the holy role models themselves, but this version by Craughwell (The Wisdom of the Popes) is a surprisingly welcome addition. Cleverly organized with updated categories like "Saints for the Workplace" and "Saints for Social Action," this volume is full of well-told stories and interesting tidbits about saints, some lesser known and others with ecclesiastical star power. Craughwell has identified saints for single moms, lapsed Catholics and financial professionals, as well as for contemporary concerns and causes like wholesome Web surfing and ending abortion and racial injustice. He has also done his homework, going well beyond saccharine hagiography and painting his subjects with texture, detail and background. His choices include familiar favorites like St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology, and St. Jude, patron of impossible cases, along with newcomers like St. Maximilian Kolbe, who died at Auschwitz when he offered to take the place of a prisoner who was to be executed. Craughwell also clears up a misunderstanding dating to 1969 about the status of St. Christopher, assuring readers that the patron of travelers did indeed exist and that he remains a saint according to the Catholic Church. Anyone fascinated by the lives of holy people will enjoy paging through this compendium, which, with its calendar of saints' feasts, makes an excellent resource for home and classroom use. (Dec.) Forecast: This will be an alternate selection of both the BOMC and the History Book Club in March, which may help put the tiny publisher Stampley on the map. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580870597
  • Publisher: Stampley, C. D. Enterprises, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


Friends of the Family:


Saints for the Home


    When St. Margaret of Cortona was canonized in 1728 she was held up to the faithful as "a second Magdalene," a woman who turned away from her sinful life and spent the rest of her days in prayer and penance. That single mothers might have a patron saint was unthinkable at the time.

    Nor would it have occurred to the pilgrims at the tomb of St. Elizabeth of Hungary to ask her help with problematic in-laws. They sought out St. Elizabeth because in her life she had cared for the sick and the dying, and they hoped that through her intercession they would be healed of their illnesses.

    But the cult of the saints is not a rigid thing. History shows us that the reasons why the faithful turn to certain saints change from place to place and from age to age. When divorce was rare, a patron saint for divorcing couples was unnecessary. Today, when so marry marriages end in divorce, the divorced and the divorcing have as their patron St. Helen, whose husband terminated their marriage so he could marry a Roman princess.

    St. Matilda is a classic example of how devotion to a saint has evolved over the centuries. At the beginning of her cult she was considered the special patron of her descendants, the guardian of the Ottonian dynasty she and her husband, Henry the Fowler, had started in Germany. Once the royal line of the Ottonians had died out, Matilda's patronage was expanded. Throughout the Middle Ages, when selflessness was not a common traitamong the upper classes, the Church held up St. Matilda as a model for all female rulers. Queens and empresses are rare today, but parents with disappointing children are common. So devotion to St. Matilda has shifted once again.

    Among the saints presented in this chapter, only St. Gerard Majella has remained consistent. Since his death he has been the favored intercessor for expectant mothers. Certainly the Redemptorists have fostered this devotion to their greatest wonder-working saint, but there is another reason why St. Gerard's "specialty" has not changed: in spite of advances in medical science, the anxiety of pregnancy and childbirth remains universal. And the many miracles in the delivery room attributed to St. Gerard's intercession only strengthen devotion to him under this title.


For Expectant Mothers

St. Gerard Majella (1726-1755) Feast day: October 16


The first expectant mothers who invoked St. Gerard Majella did
so at a time when many mothers and infants did not survive
childbirth. Although most pregnancies these days end happily,
expectant mothers still invoke St. Gerard to protect them
and safeguard the life within their wombs.


    Gerard Majella was born in Mura Lucano, a town fifty miles south of Naples. While still a little boy he showed signs of piety, so much so that he was granted permission to receive Holy Communion every other day, a rare privilege for the time. His mother said her son "was born for Heaven."

    Gerard was twelve when his father died. His mother apprenticed Gerard to a tailor in town so he could help support the family. The tailor was mean-spirited and irreligious. He mocked Gerard for giving one third of his pay to charity and spending time praying before the Blessed Sacrament. But the tailor's foreman was worse—he beat Gerard on any pretext.

    After four years Gerard's apprenticeship ended. Although he was qualified to go into business for himself, he took a job as a servant to the bishop of Lacedogna. The man was a notorious tyrant who cursed and abused his household staff. Most servants left after a few days, but Gerard stayed for three years, until the bishop died. Gerard believed that by enduring the anger and abuse of others patiently he was cultivating the virtue of humility.

    With the bishop's death, Gerard did at last open his own tailor shop. He was nineteen years old. He worked at his trade for the next seven years. Gerard's ambition, however, was to enter a religious order.

    He applied for admittance to the Capuchins, but the friars rejected him because his health was so poor. Then, in 1749, when Gerard was 23, a group of priests from the recently established Redemptorist Congregation arrived in Mura Lucano to preach a mission. Gerard was deeply impressed by the eloquence and devotion of these priests. He asked the mission team if he could join the Redemptorists as a lay brother. Just as the Capuchins had done before, the Redemptorists expressed concern about Gerard's health and refused his request.

    Gerard would not give up. He pestered the fathers so relentlessly that when the Redemptorists were leaving at the end of the mission, a priest suggested to Gerard's mother that she lock her son in his room so they could depart without causing a scene.

    In fact Gerard did chase after the Redemptorists. He pleaded persistently to join them until at last one of the priests, Father Paul Cafaro, sent Gerard to the Redemptorist house at Deliceto. Father Cafaro sent a note to the master of novices there that the new recruit was "useless." But he left the final decision of what should be done with Gerard to the superiors at Deliceto.

    In the novitiate Gerard worked so hard and advanced in holiness so quickly that St. Alphonsus de Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorists, intervened and granted him permission to take his vows as a lay brother early.

    The three years of Gerard's religious life were extraordinary. St. Alphonsus and his fellow Redemptorists found that the frail tailor from Mura Lucano was a miracle worker. At least twenty cases are recorded of Gerard bringing sinners to repentance by revealing to them secret sins they had been unwilling to confess to a priest. We have testimony from eyewitnesses who swear they saw Gerard levitate while he was deep in prayer. A poor family said that by Gerard's prayer their meager supply of wheat lasted for

(Continues...)


Excerpted from Saints for Every Occasion by Thomas J. Craughwell. Copyright © 2001 by C.D. Stampley Enterprises, Inc.. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION xi
PREFACE xv
Friends of the Family: Saints for the Home 1
For Expectant Mothers 5
For Single Mothers 10
For In-law Problems 15
For Healing Family Rifts 19
For Those Divorced or Divorcing 22
When Children Disappoint 27
When Stressed by Household Chores 31
When Stressed by Entertaining 34
Teachers and Guides: Saints for Students 37
A Role Model for Students 41
For Help in Learning 44
For Those Struggling With Science 51
To Understand the Bible 55
To Make the Best Use of Time 60
Models of Faith: Saints for the Christian Life 69
For First Communicants 73
For HelpMaking a Good Confession 75
For Altar Servers 81
For a Good Retreat 84
When Mocked for Christian Living 90
For Lapsed Catholics 94
For Deacons 102
For Cloistered Nuns 105
For Parish Priests 107
When Hurt by the Church 114
Heavenly Mentors: Saints for the Workplace 127
For Advertisers 131
For Members of the Armed Services 133
For Astronauts 135
For Booksellers 137
For Chefs 140
For Farmers 142
For Financial Professionals 144
For Firefighters 145
For Florists 147
For Funeral Directors 153
For Hairdressers 155
For Highway Construction Workers 157
For Lawyers 160
For Nurses 166
For Physicians 170
For Police Officers 172
For Postal Workers 175
For Psychiatrists 176
For Teachers 178
For Writers 181
Joy in the Lord: Saints to Play With 185
For Archers 189
For Actors and Drama Students 192
For Fishermen 193
For Horseback Riders 198
For Hunters 204
For Mountain and Rock Climbers 206
For Musicians and Singers 208
For Painters 212
For Skaters 214
For Swimmers 217
For All Lovers of Sport 219
Thirsting for Justice: Saints for Social Action 223
For the Homeless 227
For Immigrants 229
To Save the Environment 233
To Save the Whales 239
To End Abortion 242
To Prevent Child Abuse 247
To Prevent Sexual Abuse 249
For Racial Justice 251
For Political Prisoners 256
For the Peaceful Transition of Power 262
A Healing Touch: Saints for Good Health 265
For Headaches 269
For Toothaches 270
For Stomach Ailments 272
For Throat Ailments 273
For Arthritis and Rheumatism 275
For Eye Trouble 278
For Cancer 280
For Breast Cancer 282
For AIDS Sufferers 284
For the Mentally Ill 293
To Protect and Guide: Saints to Keep you Safe 295
For Safe Travel 299
For Safeguard Against Thieves 303
To Avoid or End Drought 305
Against Lightning 308
Against Earthquakes 314
Against Volcanic Eruptions 315
Against Snakebite 317
Against Temptations of the Devil 326
Comforters and Consolers: Saints for Various Needs 331
For the Lovelorn 335
For the Infertile 337
To Overcome Religious Doubts 339
For Confidence in Divine Mercy 341
For Those Suffering Discrimination 344
For the Falsely Accused 347
For Prisoners 351
For Impossible Cases 353
For the Dying 355
Followers of the Little Way: Saints for Children 357
For Children 361
For Adopted Children 364
For Youth 366
For Preventing Nightmares 372
To Find Lost Objects 375
For Wholesome Television 380
For Wholesome Web Surfing 386
For Good Friendships 389
Epilogue: Queen of All Saints 393
In Every Necessity 395
CALENDAR OF SAINTS' FEASTS 399
SOURCES 403
SUBJECT INDEX 409
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2001

    Great Contemporary Saints Collection

    I was taken quite by surprise when I paged through this book. It was a very practical and contemporary work, appealing to all with whom I have shared it. Those looking for an in depth but readable history of a favorite saint were pleased. Others who needed a patron were surprised and pleased by the number of patrons covered. A friend who suffers from headaches was happy to find a patron in the book. The artwork is somewhat dated, but the descriptions of the saints themselves is wonderful. I would recommend it to all.

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