St. Peregrine: Patron of Cancer Sufferers

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St. Peregrine Laziosi of Forli, Italy

St. Peregrine: Patron Saint of Cancer Sufferers Overview

Many people have been affected by cancer or know someone who has.  Traditionally, St. Peregrine has been the patron saint of cancer sufferers and of those with major life-threatening illnesses since his death in 1345.

We may feel helpless in the face of chronic or even terminal illness as well as any condition which causes pain. Moreover, it may even cause you to cry, “Amputate!” which is exactly what was going to happen to St. Peregrine.

Born in Italy in 1260, Peregrine wasn’t always a faith filled or hopeful follower of Christ. In his youth, he actively worked against the Catholic Church, but he experienced a conversion through another’s act of selflessness, which changed his life and let him to commit himself to serving God and others. As a result, he became an ideal priest of the Servite Order (Friar Order of the Servants of Mary) and brought many back to the Faith. During his life, he performed many acts of penance, including not permitting himself to ever sit down, as far as he was able. Perhaps, that’s why his foot and lower leg became cancerous.

St. Peregrine’s Prayer and Miraculous Cure

Over time, St. Peregrine’s leg became an odorous, ulcerous sore that wouldn’t heal and so the amputation of his leg was scheduled. The night before surgery, he crawled into the monastery chapel and offered a prayer of loving resignation, mixed with the plea that his leg would not be amputated.  That night, he had a vision of Jesus reaching out from the cross to touch his leg. When he awoke, the cancer was gone!

This miracle gave faith to those suffering from illness and further enhanced the reputation Peregrine had already acquired by his exemplary life.  As a result, he became known as a “Wonder Worker”. By the time he died in May of 1345 at the age of 85, so great were the number of miracles attributed to him that he was beatified by the Church in 1609 and canonized in 1726.  Regarding veneration of St. Peregrine, the National Shrine of St. Peregrine is located in the gorgeous Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago, IL.  St. Peregrine is the patron saint of those suffering from cancer, HIV, and other serious, seemingly incurable illnesses.

The Most Important Type of Prayer

We need to remember that the power in Peregrine’s prayer came not just from living an exemplary and sacrificial life and by merely asking, though that is extremely necessary because God has told us to “ask and you shall receive,” but from his surrendered heart and will, wanting only the Will of God, which is always best and after the example of Jesus.  More importantly, Peregrine TRUSTED that God would work it all for good, cured or not.

How to Live Like A Saint

Peregrine is an example to us that no matter how great our own sufferings may be, we should always have hope and trust in the goodness and providence of God. In so doing, we then become an example to others of the inner peace God gives us despite the turmoil of our lives.

A Prayer to St. Peregrine, Patron Saint of Cancer and Serious Illness Sufferers

Let us always pray for not only physical healing, but also the spiritual strength that will see us through any hardship and every suffering, and witness the love of God at work in our lives every day.

O great St. Peregrine, wonder worker, you were cured instantaneously of cancer by God’s grace and unceasing prayer and mortification. In your gracious kindness, please ask the Lord to heal (name person) in body, mind and soul. May we then also follow you in doing God’s work with renewed vigor and strength. St. Peregrine, pray for us. Amen.

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