This post is dedicated to my mother, Eliza, who is a cancer patient.
Whenever someone utters the word CANCER - I cringe and get uneasy...and I've been hearing the word fairly often in the past few years. In July 2006 my husband's stepfather died after months of battling the disease. Shortly after my mother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
As you can tell, cancer has been on my mind these days, and so I thought this would be a great opportunity to write about the Patron saint of victims of cancer, AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases - ST. PEREGRINE.
Who was Saint Peregrine? Why is he the patron saint of cancer patients?
St. Peregrine Laziosi
Feast Day: May 1
Peregrine Laziosi was born of a wealthy family at Forli, Italy, in 1260. As a youth he was active in politics as a member of the anti-papal party. During one uprising, which the Pope sent St. Philip Benizi to mediate, Philip was struck in the face by Peregrine. When Philip offered the other cheek, Peregrine was so overcome that he repented and converted to Catholicism. Following the instructions of the Virgin Mary received in a vision, Peregrine went to Siena and joined the Servites.
It is believed that he never allowed himself to sit down for thirty years, while as far as possible, observing silence and solitude. Sometime later, Peregrine was sent to Forli to found a new house of the Servite Order. An ideal priest, he had a reputation for fervent preaching and being a good confessor. When he was afflicted with cancer of the foot and amputation had been decided upon, he spent the night before the operation, in prayer. The following morning he was completely cured. This miracle caused his reputation to become widespread.
He died in 1345 at the age of eighty-five, and he was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. St. Peregrine, like St. Paul, was in open defiance of the Church as a youth. Once given the grace of conversion he became one of the great saints of his time. His great fervor and qualities as a confessor brought many back to the true Faith.
Afflicted with cancer, Peregrine turned to God and was richly rewarded for his Faith, enabling him over many years to lead others to the truth. He is the patron of cancer patients.
St. Peregrine, Catholic.org, http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=237 (accessed October 2007)
He was cured of cancer, after he received a vision of Christ on the cross reaching out His hand to touch his impaired limb.
Prayer to Saint Peregrine
O great St. Peregrine, you have been called "The Mighty," "The Wonder-Worker," because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you.
For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fibre of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favoured with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of the sick whom we entrust to you.
(Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick for whom you are praying)
Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.
Novena to St. Peregrine
Glorious wonder-worker, St. Peregrine, you answered the divine call with a ready spirit, and forsook all the comforts of a life of ease and all the empty honors of the world to dedicate yourself to God in the Order of His holy Mother.
You labored manfully for the salvation of souls. In union with Jesus crucified, you endured painful sufferings with such patience as to deserve to be healed miraculously of an incurable cancer in your leg by a touch of His divine hand.
Obtain for me the grace to answer every call of God and to fulfill His will in all the events of life. Enkindle in my heart a consuming zeal for the salvation of all men. Deliver me from the infirmities that afflict my body (especially.....).
Obtain for me also a perfect resignation to the sufferings it may please God to send me, so that, imitating our crucified Savior and His sorrowful Mother, I may merit eternal glory in heaven.
St. Peregrine, pray for me and for all who invoke your aid. Amen