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Danielle

Danielle in 7 days with the Saints - but not your usual!

Post #2First released on October 27, 2019

There was fourteen of them...

There was fourteen of them...

Dear friends,

Welcome to our second day together! Today, we will become acquainted with not one, not two, but fourteen saints! 

At the core of this group of fourteen were the three virgin martyrs: "Sankt Margaretha mit dem Wurm, Sankt Barbara mit dem Turm, Sankt Catharina mit dem Radl, das sind die heiligen drei Madl." Saint Margaret with the dragon, Saint Barbara with the tower, Saint Catherine with the wheel, those are the three holy maids.

The devotion to the Fourteen Holy Helpers became popular in Western Europe during the Black Plague pandemics, 1346-1351. You may wonder, why these fourteen particular saints? The theory was that, since each of these fourteen promised before their death, to intercede for specific human needs, the intensive invocation of the whole group would cover most human necessities. That's probably why they were called in Germany the "Nothelfer," or "helpers in need."

For the sake of knowledge, I visited the CDC website to research plague symptoms: sudden onset of fever, headaches, chills, weakness, swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes called buboes. If left untreated, the infected person will develop extreme weakness, abdominal pain, internal and external bleeding, gangrene and necrosis (fingers, nose, ears, tongue...), leading to septicemia and death. Sometimes, if the infection is located in the lungs, symptoms could be shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, bloody or watery mucous, which will evolve into respiratory failure and shock, leading to death. 

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No wonder the pious turned to the Saints in an attempt to escape the fatal outcome of the infection. The Fourteen are perfectly indicated in case of plague, as their expertise covers all the symptoms above. In the context of plague infection,

  • St. Agathius, or Acacius, is invoked against headache.
  • St. Barbara is invoked against fever and sudden death.
  • St. Blaise, or Blase, Blasius, is invoked against illness of the throat and for protection of domestic animals (a plague vector). 
  • St. Catherine of Alexandria is invoked against sudden death and diseases of the tongue.
  • St. Christopher is invoked against bubonic plague.
  • St. Cyriacus is invoked against temptation on deathbed. 
  • St. Denis, or Dionysius, is invoked against headaches.
  • St. Erasmus, or Elmo, is invoked against intestinal ailments, stomach ailments, and for protection of domestic animals. 
  • St. Eustace, or Eustachius, Eustathius, is invoked against family discord and temporal and eternal fire. 
  • St. George is invoked for the protection of domestic animals.
  • St. Giles, or Aegidius, is invoked against plague, mental illness and nightmares, and for a good confession. 
  • St. Margaret of Antioch is invoked against backache, and to escape from devils.
  • St. Pantaleon, or Panteleimon, patron saint of physicians, is invoked for the protection of domestic animals, and against tuberculosis.
  • St. Vitus, or Guy, is invoked for the protection of domestic animals, and against the bite of other animals, especially the venomous, contaminated and rabid.

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In the middle of the 15th century, the devotion to the Fourteen Saints found its focus in Bavaria. The legend tells us that once upon a time, in the year of grace 1445 in Bavaria, a young shepherd by the name of Hermann Leicht, employed by the nearby Franciscan monastery, spotted a crying child in a field, which belonged to another monastery, a Cistercian one. As he hurried to pick up the child, the latter suddenly vanished. The same child reappeared shortly after that at the same place, with two candles burning next to him, only to disappear again. But when Hermann saw the apparition for the third time, the child bore a red cross on his chest and wasn't alone: he was with thirteen other children. He didn't vanish; instead, he told the young shepherd: "We are the fourteen helpers and wish to have a chapel built here, where we can rest. If you will be our servant, we will be yours!" 

The Cistercian brothers to whom the land belonged built a chapel, which immediately attracted pilgrims. Miraculous healings soon began, through the intervention of the fourteen saints. An altar was consecrated as early as 1448. The original chapel was destroyed during the Reformation, then rebuilt several times. Today, The Fourteen Holy Helpers are honored in the area as the "Vierzehn Heiligen," and the Basilica of the Vierzehnheiligen is dedicated to them. This pilgrimage church, designed by Balthasar Neuman in a pure Rococo style, was built between 1743 and 1772. Pilgrimages to the Vierzehnheiligen continue to the present day between May and October. This is practically the only area that maintains a devotion to the Fourteen nowadays, as their group celebration on August 8 never became part of the General Roman Calendar for universal veneration. Also, the calendar revision of 1969 dropped the individual celebrations of St. Barbara, St. Catherine of Alexandria (reinstated later by Pope JPII), St. Christopher and St. Margaret of Antioch. 

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Invocation of the Fourteen Holy Helpers:

Fourteen Holy Helpers, who served God in humility and confidence on earth and are now in the enjoyment of His beatific vision in Heaven; because thou persevered till death thou gained the crown of eternal life. Remember the dangers that surround us in this vale of tears, and intercede for us in all our needs and adversities. Amen.
Fourteen Holy Helpers, select friends of God, I honor thee as mighty intercessors, and come with filial confidence to thee in my needs, for the relief of which I have undertaken to make this novena (or to say this prayer). Help me by thy intercession to placate God’s wrath, which I have provoked by my sins, and aid me in amending my life and doing penance. Obtain for me the grace to serve God with a willing heart, to be resigned to His holy will, to be patient in adversity and to persevere unto the end, so that, having finished my earthly course, I may join thee in Heaven, there to praise forever God, who is wonderful in His Saints. Amen. 

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The Litany of the Fourteen Holy Helpers - for private devotion

LORD, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, helper in all needs, pray for us.
Fourteen Holy Helpers, pray for us.
Saint George, valiant Martyr of Christ, pray for us.
Saint Blase, zealous bishop and benefactor of the poor, pray for us.
Saint Erasmus, mighty protector of the oppressed, pray for us.
Saint Pantaleon, miraculous exemplar of charity, pray for us.
Saint Vitus, special protector of chastity, pray for us.
Saint Christophorus, mighty intercessor in dangers, pray for us.
Saint Dionysius, shining mirror of faith and confidence, pray for us.
Saint Cyriacus, terror of Hell, pray for us.
Saint Achatius, helpful advocate in death, pray for us. 
Saint Eustachius, exemplar of patience in adversity, pray for us.
Saint Giles, despiser of the world, pray for us.
Saint Margaret, valiant champion of the Faith, pray for us.
Saint Catherine, victorious defender of the Faith and of purity, pray for us.
Saint Barbara, mighty patroness of the dying, pray for us.

All ye Holy Helpers, pray for us.
All ye Saints of God, pray for us.
In temptations against faith, pray for us.
In adversity and trials, pray for us.
In anxiety and want, pray for us.
In every combat, pray for us.
In every temptation, pray for us.
In sickness, pray for us.
In all needs, pray for us.
In fear and terror, pray for us.
In dangers of salvation, pray for us.
In dangers of honor, pray for us.
In dangers of reputation, pray for us.
In dangers of property, pray for us.
In dangers by fire and water, pray for us.

Be merciful, spare us, O Lord!
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord!

From all sin, deliver us, O Lord.
From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Lord.
From the scourge of earthquake, deliver us, O Lord.
From plague, famine, and war, deliver us, O Lord.
From lightning and storms, deliver us, O Lord.
From a sudden and unprovided death, deliver us, O Lord.
From eternal damnation, deliver us, O Lord.

Through the mystery of Thy holy incarnation, deliver us, O Lord.
Through Thy birth and Thy life, deliver us, O Lord.
Through Thy Cross and Passion, deliver us, O Lord.
Through Thy death and burial, deliver us, O Lord.
Through the merits of Thy blessed Mother Mary, deliver us, O Lord.
Through the merits of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, deliver us, O Lord.
On the Day of Judgment, deliver us, O Lord.

We sinners, beseech Thee hear us.
That Thou spare us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou pardon us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou convert us to true penance, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou give and preserve the fruits of the earth, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou protect and propagate Thy holy Church, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou preserve peace and concord among the nations, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou give eternal rest to the souls of the departed, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou come to our aid through the intercession of the Holy Helpers, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint George Thou preserve us in the Faith, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Blase Thou confirm us in hope, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Erasmus Thou enkindle in us Thy holy love, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Pantaleon Thou give us charity for our neighbor, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Vitus Thou teach us the value of our soul, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Christophorus Thou preserve us from sin, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Dionysius Thou give us tranquillity of conscience, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Cyriacus Thou grant us resignation to Thy holy will, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Eustachius Thou give us patience in adversity, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Achatius Thou grant us a happy death, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Giles Thou grant us a merciful judgment, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Margaret Thou preserve us from Hell, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Catherine Thou shorten our Purgatory, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of Saint Barbara Thou receive us in Heaven, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That through the intercession of all the Holy Helpers Thou wilt grant our prayers, we beseech Thee, hear us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord.

V. Pray for us, ye Fourteen Holy Helpers.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promise of Christ.

Let us pray.

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast bestowed extraordinary graces and gifts on Thy saints George, Blase, Erasmus, Pantaleon, Vitus, Christophorus, Dionysius, Cyriacus, Eustachius, Achatius, Giles, Margaret, Catherine, and Barbara, and hast illustrated them by miracles; we beseech Thee to graciously hear the petitions of all who invoke their intercession. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, who didst miraculously fortify the Fourteen Holy Helpers in the confession of the Faith; grant us, we beseech Thee, to imitate their fortitude in overcoming all temptations against it, and protect us through their intercession in all dangers of soul and body, so that we may serve Thee in purity of heart and chastity of body. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Pictures:

1- Stained glass featuring the Fourteen Holy Helpers - no further information.

2- The Plague of Florence in 1348, by Luigi Sabatelli. 

3- A prayer card featuring the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

4- The high altar in the Basilica of Vierzehnheiligen, picture by Cajetan -  CC BY-SA 3.0

5- The Fourteen Auxiliary Saints, engraving by R. De Cramer.

6- The Fourteen Saints, by Immanuel Giel - CC BY-SA 3.0 

Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)

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Saint Isidore and other saints for modern-day calamities

Post #1First released on October 26, 2019

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6

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