Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Fourteen Holy Helpers

What is the devotion known as the 14 Holy Helpers Devotion?

To modern Catholics who have seen much of their heritage forgotten and neglected - especially over the last few generations - few likely have heard of the 14 Holy Helpers.  But the 14 Holy Helpers were honored for centuries and they should not be forgotten. They are a group of fourteen saints who are patrons against various diseases. 

Devotion to the 14 Holy Helpers originated in the 14th century largely as a result of the Black Death (the bubonic plague).  The miracles attributed to these saints won for them the distinction as the 14 Holy Helpers.

And even in our modern era, when we thankfully and by the grace of God have a wide number of treatments and cures for illnesses, we can invoke their patronage for the many souls who die each year in less developed parts of the world due to a number of treatable or incurable diseases.

Who are the 14 Holy Helpers?

They are the following 14 saints.  You may follow the links for more information on specific saints.

  1. St. Agathius
  2. St. Barbara
  3. St. Blaise
  4. St. Catherine of Alexandria
  5. St. Christopher
  6. St. Cyriacus
  7. St. Denis
  8. St. Erasmus
  9. St. Eustace
  10. St. George
  11. St. Giles
  12. St. Margaret of Antioch
  13. St. Pantaleon
  14. St. Vitus

What are the 14 Holy Helpers Patron Saints Against?
Saint Christopher and Saint Giles were invoked against the plague itself. Saint Denis was prayed to for relief from headache, Saint Blaise for ills of the throat, Saint Elmo for abdominal maladies, Saint Barbara for fever, and Saint Vitus against epilepsy. Saint Pantaleon was the patron of physicians, Saint Cyriacus invoked against temptation on the deathbed, and Saints Christopher, Barbara, and Catherine for protection against a sudden and unprovided for death. Saint Giles was prayed to for a good confession and Saint Eustace as healer of family troubles. Domestic animals were also attacked by the plague, so Saints George, Elmo, Pantaleon, and Vitus were invoked for their protection. Saint Margaret of Antioch is the patron of safe childbirth.
Source: Hammer, Bonaventure (1995). "The Fourteen Holy Helpers". Retrieved 6 November 2007.
Is there a Feast of the 14 Holy Helpers?

Indulgences were attached to devotions to the 14 Holy Helpers by Pope Nicholas.  All of these saints have individual feastdays as part of the Traditional Catholic Calendar.  Unfortunately, four of them lost individual feastdays in the Novus Ordo Calendar changes of 1969. They are all however still honored in the Tridentine Latin Mass which is widely celebrated around the world.

And furthermore, the Fourteen Holy Helpers are celebrated as a group on August 8th though this feastday was never a part of the General Roman Catholic Calendar but instead is celebrated only in certain places.

Novena to the 14 Holy Helpers:

For a Novena to the 14 Holy Helpers, please click here.

More Information:

For more information, please check out the book by Bonaventure Hammer entitled "The Fourteen Holy Helpers"

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