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Ten Saints Every Worrier Should Know


 

Although we’d rather not admit it, many of us worry (or are tempted to worry) each day of our lives. One of the reasons that we worry is that we sometimes feel we are facing our problems alone. Once we meet others who are dealing with similar problems, we usually feel better. Even more comforting is when we encounter someone who has survived the issue that is troubling us. As Catholics, much can be gained by studying the lives of the saints. Far from living easy lives, these men and women have struggled with many of the same anxiety producing problems experienced by you and I. Furthermore, we know that they’ve ended up we all want to go – Heaven! Are you anxious or worried? Do you have serious problems in your life? Here are 10 saints that you should get to know. We can learn A LOT from their lives.

1. Saint Dymphna – Many Catholics who are anxious are familiar with Saint Dymphna, the patroness of those afflicted with nervous disorders and anxiety. According to tradition, she was born in Ireland (in the 7th century) to a pagan father and a Christian mother. When Dymphna’s mother died, her distraught father traveled in vain searching for a new wife. Eventually he reached the unimaginable conclusion that he would take Dymphna as his wife! At the urging of a priest, she took flight and was ultimately located and murdered by her father. It’s easy to see the kind of emotional stress that this young girl was under and equally understandable to see why she became known as the patron saint of those who suffer from anxiety. Many miracles are reported to have taken place at her shrine in Belgium, located near the place of her death.

2. Saint Jude Thaddeus – If there’s one saint that Catholics turn to when all looks bleak, it’s Saint Jude Thaddeus. One of the twelve Apostles, he is known as the patron of hopeless cases. Although many are aware of Saint Jude’s reputation for providing assistance when all else fails, there is some confusion as to how he was chosen for that role. One of the most popular theories is that, due to the similarity of his name with that of fellow Apostle Judas, the faithful steered clear of devotion to him. As a result, devotion to him became something of a “lost cause”. He is available and willing to intercede for our most desperate intentions.

3. Saint Rita of Cascia – Born in 1381 in Italy, Saint Rita is known as the patroness of impossible cases. She was married to a man with a violent temper who abused and mistreated her. After eighteen years of marriage, her husband was murdered. One day Rita overheard her two sons plotting to avenge the death of their father. Fearing the loss of their souls, she prayed that her sons would avoid taking revenge on their father’s murderer. Suddenly, both of them took sick and died before any retaliation could take place. Although her prayers were answered in an unlikely manner, they were indeed answered and her sons were prevented from carrying out a grave offense.

4. Saint Padre Pio – With a motto such as “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry”, it’s easy to see why I included Saint Pio in this list. He was a firm believer in God’s providence and understood that worry was useless. Any time that we waste on worrying could be more productively spent in prayer. What should we pray for? One thing could be an increase in the theological virtue of hope, which allows us to believe that “all things work for the good” (Romans 8:28) and that the problems of this life are temporary. One day, along with Saint Pio, it will be possible for us to live in the problem-free paradise known as Heaven!

5. Saint Henry II – While at Monte Cassino in 1021, Saint Henry II (emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) became ill. Tradition has it that Saint Benedict then cured him by prayer. How common are miraculous cures? Maybe more common than we realize! We’re always quick to downplay God’s involvement in our lives, often referring to favorable outcomes as “luck”. In 1997, my wife and I were told that our twin girls would probably not be born alive. Today, Mary and Elizabeth are healthy 15 year old young ladies. Eileen and I (as well as many of the members of the medical staff) know that their survival was a miracle, the fruit of countless prayers. While they were assisted by numerous doctors and nurses, we believe that the Lord worked through these skilled individuals. God can (and does) still perform miracles…let’s give Him the chance!

6. Blessed Julian of Norwich – Although not technically a saint, Blessed Julian of Norwich is greatly revered by many Catholics. Although very little is known about her life, she is famous for a quote that has provided consolation to many throughout the years. Those of us who tend to be anxious sometimes look at the waves crashing around us and fail to see the Lord’s providence. Blessed Julian helps us to regain our focus and recall that God is ultimately in control. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

7. Saint Vincentia Lopez – Canonized in 1975, Saint Vincentia Lopez was the foundress of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate for Domestic Service, a religious congregation dedicated to ministering to working girls. In a letter to her mother, she wrote: “Come and stay with us, and your ills will certainly mend. Imagination plays a large part in them, and here there are so many distractions that you will have no time to think.” I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. One of the best ways to stop worrying is to keep busy. If worry motivates you to do something, then it can be productive. If, on the other hand, all you’re doing is mulling over the bad things that could happen in your life, it’s time to take Saint Vincentia’s advice and get busy.

8. Saint Juan Diego – I decided to include Juan Diego in this list not because of anything that he said or did, but because of what was said to him. In December of 1531, the Blessed Mother appeared several times to this poor Aztec Indian in Mexico. His bishop was skeptical and asked for a sign. On December 11, Mary promised Juan that on the following day she would give him a sign that he could take to the bishop. The next day, his uncle became seriously ill and Saint Juan avoided meeting Mary as she had instructed him to do. Mary appeared to him and said, “Listen and be sure, my dear son, that I will protect you; do not be frightened or grieve, or let your heart be dismayed, however great the illness that you speak of. Am I not here? I, who am your Mother, and is not my help a refuge? Am I not of your kind? Do not be concerned about your uncle’s illness, for he is not going to die. Be assured, he is already well. Is there anything else you need?” Instead of worrying, have you discussed your problems with Mary? Why not? Just as she did with Saint Juan Diego, she is waiting to help you.

9. Pope Saint Leo the Great – Attila the Hun was a ruthless and powerful warrior who conquered many lands, including Austria and Germany. In 452, he set his sights on Italy and proceeded to successfully conquer several cities and was heading toward Rome. Attila boasted that conquering Rome would be his greatest victory. Standing firm in the face of enormous odds, Pope Saint Leo the Great met Attila and his army near Mantua and convinced the tyrant to change his plans and turn back. Rome was spared. According to tradition, when Attila was asked why he backed down so easily, he noted that while the Holy Father spoke, he saw a vision of Saint Peter holding a sword in his hand. This frightened the ruthless Hun and caused him to change his plans.

10. Saint Stephen Harding – Born in England in the 11th century, Saint Stephen Harding was educated at the Sherborne Abbey and eventually became a monk at the Abbey of Molesme in Burgundy. Feeling that the Lord was calling him to found a monastery, he did just that. In 1098, along with twenty other monks, St. Stephen founded a monastery at Citeaux. They lived a simple life, in accordance with the Rule of Saint Benedict. Eventually, Saint Stephen was elected abbot. As the monks began to die off, they were not being replaced by novices and their numbers began to dwindle. Just as it seemed the monastery would be forced to close, guess who showed up at the door? Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, along with 30 companions who were looking to join a monastery! During the next 8 years, a dozen new houses had to be built in order to house the many new monks who joined the order. This story serves as a reminder that God does provide, although he operates according to His own schedule. Sometimes He allows us to walk in the darkness in order to strengthen our faith. God will never give up on us…don’t make the mistake of giving up on Him!

In addition to being inspired by their lives, these saints can help us in another important way. As residents of Heaven, they can intercede on our behalf and help us to obtain the graces we need to deal with our problems. They have all “been there, done that” and know what it’s like to experience difficulties. They also know what it’s like to live in eternal happiness and are more than willing to do what they can to ensure that we too experience that joy. Don’t make the mistake of facing your problems alone. Turn to your heavenly friends and ask for their help today!

31 Comments

  1. Dan Krischke says:

    Thank you for posting this list of Saints. Both of my parents, though good Catholics, worried about everything. I picked up those genes and am also a Viet vet who came back with PTSD. I worry about everything also even though my life is pretty good. I got sober by praying to my deceased father and St Dymphna and getting the courage to go to rehab at the VA in San Antonio TX. It has been over

    1. Don Cie says:

      Dan…please don’t worry. God provides in many different ways so please don’t worry. It doesn’t change anything. God sets the path and the rules. You and I aren’t changing a thing.

  2. Dan Krischke says:

    Thank you for posting this list of Saints. Both of my parents, though good Catholics, worried about everything. I picked up those genes and am also a Viet vet who came back with PTSD. I worry about everything also even though my life is pretty good. I got sober by praying to my deceased father and St Dymphna and getting the courage to go to rehab at the VA in San Antonio TX. It has been over 10 years and take meds for anxiety. Still, I worry about stuff, really dumb everyday stuff that will easily take care of itself. I find it difficult to place all my trust in God and that makes me feel inadequate. Talk about your vicious cycle. But, I will keep trying. Peace and God bless.

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Hi Dan – Thank you for your comments and please don’t feel inadequate – many of us fight the worry battle every day. As long as you remember to pray, you’ll be doing what God wants. I will keep you in my daily prayers.

      God Bless,
      Gary

    2. Veronica says:

      Honesty in prayer is wonderful. I keep the Psalms in mind – some of them are surprising, these are prayers?!? This has encouraged me to speak forthrightly to God at times. Speaking my truth in His Presence. Yes, sniveling & whining at times. Being in a massive funk (am I ever going to get a better job?) Tsk, I know it’s childish but I’m still growing. It’s better to take it to God & share it there, than to walk offstage & gripe alone. And it’s grown me a greater sense of humor & forbearance. I come around to higher views, but I have to hold onto His orbit. I have found that respecting my own feelings, point of view, & processes are quite alright with God.

    3. Reader says:

      Dan,

      My wife and I lost our youngest daughter to stillbirth 3 years ago. Worse yet, my wife had toxemia and I nearly lost her too. I have since consistently waken every morning worrying about everything under the sun. I used to be a sound sleeper.

      One thing that helped was weekly trips to a Perpetual Adoration Chapel. There I asked for help and told my ‘worries’. It has helped – and I can now finally begin to sleep through the night (still the exception than the rule, but before my trips I couldn’t sleep through an entire night without waking). Perhaps such trips can help you too?

      1. Kevin (Ireland) says:

        I hope your wife is well again. One of my sister’s children is four. In August we were away for a week on West coast or Ireland. He took a little turn. Thought was some kind of seizure and nowhere near a hospital in middle of night. I have health care experience and my sister is a nurse. At one point his little fingers, lips and feet started to turn blue. I was holding him at that time. My poor sis distracted. Thought he could die. Thank God it passed. He is having tests done now. He is a very strong, strapping little boy too. I started Adoration again myself and must get to more. It’s like athletics. We must discipline and it’s not easy at times. Like St Paul says, run the course and win. God bless you and your wife. Take care. K

        Dan I like the reminder of what Mother Mary says to Juan Diego about being of our kind. She is truly of our kind indeed and a real Mother.

      2. Gary Zimak says:

        I’m really glad to see you mentioned perpetual adoration. I would be lost without my visits to the Lord!

        Peace,
        Gary

    4. Marie says:

      Dan, you’re not alone in your worry, please never feel inadequate, many of your Christian brothers and sisters have the same struggle, myself included. It’s wonderful to read that your Dad and st. Dymphna helped intercede on your behalf for your sobriety. God bless you.

      I’ll share a story with some of the other readers here. I’m a single woman without any family. I’ve been a devout Catholic/Christian my entire life. A few years ago, I went through the most difficult, frightening period of my life. I lost my job, lost my home and was literally homeless. Now, keep in mind I was praying and praying and worrying and worrying. I thought I would die from worry alone.

      A few friends helped me here and there, but still couldn’t provide a long term solution for me. I felt frozen with such fear and worry I couldn’t think straight. Yet I continued to pray. I have so many people say to me “Hand this terrible problem to God and let go …” but as many of you know, when you are experiencing something so difficult, it can be easier said than done.

      What happened to me? I finally slumped in complete surrender. I said “God, I completely give up. Put me wherever you want me, just please don’t make me sleep outside on a bench. Let me eat and have shelter.” Well, the moment I completely surrender to God, a MIRACULOUS – and I mean miraculous – sum of money came into my life from the most unexpected and incredible way. I cried like I’ve never cried in my life and experienced a feeling of joy like no other. God had truly heard me and revealed to me at that moment that He would never let me fall.

      I’m now going through another difficult situation. I have finances, thank you God! but I’m in a difficult situation with “doors that keep shutting” in my face. This time, my faith is stronger. My life in the state I’m living was becoming more barren, more difficult in many ways. Now, I’ve prayed “God, I understand that You are at work here — please show me the way go… I’ll move wherever you want me to.” Well, the next day I got a call from a friend of mine in another state that convinced me to move where she lives. I feel like a burden is being lifted and I feel certain God is paving the path.

      I know many of us are experiencing great struggle in these difficult times. Please try to hold on and remember — God is ALWAYS in charge, no matter how bleak a situation may look. Release, surrender and stand strong in HIS WORD, fortify your faith and sit back … let HIM do the rest.

      1. Gary Zimak says:

        “God is ALWAYS in charge, no matter how bleak a situation may look.”

        That is a GREAT reminder, Marie!

        God Bless,
        Gary

    5. Lori says:

      Dan,
      My family has depression and panic disorders running rampant in it, and I’ve had them most of my life. I also became incredibly scrupulous because of it all–that “vicious cycle” you mentioned! Years ago–back in the mid 80′s when I was about 20, I found a little pamphlet in the back of the church. It was for The Apostolate of Suffering. On the front was a “crude” sketch of Jesus on the Cross, and all around him were words like “anxiety”, “fear”, “hopelessness”, “guilt”, “discouragement”, etc. I picked it up, as I struggled with guilt from those very feelings. It said to offer those things up to the Lord, and it came with a morning offering. On the back was a form to join, and of course, I did. I was doing a lot of pro-life work, including volunteering at a center to help women, praying and counseling outside abortuaries, etc. Well, after I mailed in my membership form to The Apostolate of Suffering, I received a card with a prayer on it. on the back was the name of someone to offer my sufferings for–someone I figured had also joined the Apostolate. It said, “Fr. Paul Marx, O.S.B.”. so, I started praying for him. Not long after, I was at the center where I volunteered, and we had received some new brochures. You can only imagine my shock and amazement when I saw who put them out–Fr. Paul Marx, O.S.B., founder of Human Life International! I took that as a good sign from Our Lord, and became even more fervent in offering all those horrible feelings for the conversion of sinners.
      I will say that when I became very, very ill and hospitalized, I finally took medicine. It made a huge difference. I still take it to this day. and I still am a worrier, but I function much better and am closer to “normal” (whatever that exactly is) than I used to be. One thing I learned as a member of that Apostolate was that St. Alphonsus Liguouri suffered with Scrupulosity the last 3 years of his life! a great saint like that, and he also had spiritual sufferings.
      Try also reading some of St. Therese of Lisieux’s writings. I memorized lots of her quotes. :-) I once read that if she were alive today, she would be “diagnosed” as neurotic (well, that was back in the ’80s. don’t hear that term much anymore. ;-)
      Keep praying!! Our Lord sweat blood in the Garden of Gesethemene, so He knows what it feels like to suffer emotionally.

  3. Robert Ormsbee says:

    ‘Good thinking here–about worrisome human problems.

    As I read your comments about St. Jude, worrisome thoughts surfaced in my mind concerning St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital–founded by Danny Thomas (with the encouragement and lifelong support of his life-mate and wife, Rose Marie Thomas). I contributed much time and artistic effort, and in ways of dedication and prayer to this fine humane organization and hospital. Mrs. Thomas was a personal friend of mine when I worked with her on several fund-raising projects.

    Today, I feel Marlo Thomas is abandoning the Catholic principles of Godly ways in the operation of the hospitals financial needs. She is very liberal and outspoken for homosexuality and the Democratic ideological aspects of “money over morals” (I believe). Good things are achieved at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, of course…but not (perhaps) in the name of and moral
    ways of God.

    Your list, here, and your comments concerning St Jude, have inspired me to commence a prayer program to St. Jude for restoration in matters of his wonderful hospital.

    1. Aunt Raven says:

      Thanks for letting us know this. I will pray for your intentions — The St Jude Hospital is a treasure, and the Thomas’s legacy must not be lost.

    2. Lexi says:

      Amen, will keep this in prayer. It is sad this is happening as the hospital has taken care of so many children. May the Patron Saint, St Jude intercede mightily

  4. Joaco says:

    Keep on going Dan, you’re great! You’re not a worrier, you’re a battler! Keep it up, you seem to be doing well and getting there.

  5. [...] Are you a chronic worrier? Here are 10 saints you should know… [...]

  6. Martr says:

    Acts 14:14-15
    New International Version (NIV)
    14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.

    1 Timothy 2:5
    New International Version (NIV)
    5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

    John 14:13
    New International Version (NIV)
    13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

    1 John 5:21
    Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

    1. Intercession of the saints goes back to Old Testament times. At the transfiguration, Jesus had Moses and Elijah with him. God told Moses I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is a God of the living not the dead!

    2. Al Stecklein says:

      Martr, The miracles that have taken place over the centuries due to the intercession of those who led heroic saintly lives while on earth and are now in heaven before the throne of the Lord are undeniable. You can quote a few scripture passages (out of context, to be sure) to try to make your point, and I could quote others to justify the contrary. The question to ask is, “What does the Catholic Church have to say on the matter?” It is Christ’s Church that has the authority to speak on the matter, not you, not me, not John Calvin, Martin Luther or anyone else. The proof is in the pudding. To ignore the saints is to deny yourself one of the great Truths of Christianity. Testimony lies in the numerous saints the Catholic Church has declared for so many centuries, requiring miracles to give them validity. I urge you to do some homework and look to how Christ’s Church evolved from those early centuries, and if you do an honest objective search you will come to the truth. Go to the saints (including the greatest of all, our Blessed Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary) and you can’t go wrong – then watch what happens! That’s what our Lord wants us to do. Their prayers are more beneficial before God than ours could ever be.

  7. NW_Gal says:

    St. Jude’s Guild here has been doing charity works for over fifty years. For the nursing home. they buy or donate all the bingo gifts for nearly 100 patients weekly. I always prayed, asking for St. Jude’s help.

    It takes a lot of B vitamin complex to handle stress…….. See your doctor if this is an everyday thing not diminishing. There are low level drugs that are very helpful.

    Doctor Hyland’s Nerve Tonic from the health food store is a very helpful over the counter product and they may have to order it (It contains a x6 concentration of all natural B vitamins.)

  8. Laurie says:

    I watched a documentary on EWTN last week about St. Rita that claimed that the story of her husband being violent and abusive was a complete myth, that actually he was a good man and she loved him dearly. I am not sure where that revision came from.

  9. Kamlyn says:

    What about St. Teresa of Avila?

    She said,
    “Let nothing disturb you
    All things are passing
    Only God is constant
    Patience obtains all things.
    He who has God lacks nothing
    Only God suffices.”

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Excellent point, Kamlyn. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Laura says:

    Thank you, Gary! This is a beautiful article and I found a saint I have not heard of before and am now curious about reading of their life. God bless you!

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      It was my pleasure, Laura. The saints are great role models and I too enjoy finding about new ones!

      God Bless,
      Gary

  11. Virginia says:

    For all those with anxiety I recommend Stephanie Marohn’s book” Anxiety”
    It contains many natural helps and supplements

  12. Lauren says:

    Hi, I am 19 and am so sick and tired of having self-talk take over my life. I have recently been very worried because I am moving away from my loved ones for a couple of weeks to go on holiday and am anxious about what might happen. I should be very excited and happy to be going on holiday, but unfortunately my mind keeps telling the “what if’s.” I just wish sometimes I was normal and didn’t have these mind controlling issues. I know it is all psychological but I can’t seem to shake it. I don’t even know why I am worrying, it is really stupid. Reading about Saint Dymphna has inspired me to rely on my faith and I pray that she will help me get through my issues.
    Thanks

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Lauren. You are wise to let the Saints pray for your anxiety. I will also keep you in my daily prayers. As someone who has fought the battle against anxiety for many years, I can assure you that it is winnable. The trick is to fight it one day at a time and to let the Lord and the Saints help you.

      God Bless,
      Gary

  13. kathy says:

    My daughter Ginny has acute anxiety which is paralysing her efforts to have a happy marriage and career; please would you add to my prayers to St Dymphna and St Jude to free her of this illness and to allow her tol lead a happy and fulfilled life. She is 28 and a classics scholar.
    Thank you.

  14. Nora says:

    I’m 15 years old and I’ve been suffering from constant anxiety for the past few months. I read a book a few years ago and the main character always prayed to St. Rafael and so I wanted to do some research. This lead me here, and for the past several weeks I’ve prayed to these various saints. It has brought me a sense of peace. I attended catholic grade school but graduated and began attending a public high school for reasons relating to location. Since then I feel like my faith has become less important to me and I’ve taken this opportunity to find god again. Thank you so much for creating this page, it has helped me strengthen my faith and has greatly reduced my anxiety.

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