St. Jude

Born: 1st century AD, Galilee, Palestine
Died: 1st century AD, Persia
Feast Day: October 28

Who is St. Jude?

The Story of St. Jude Thaddeus

St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Hope and impossible causes and one of Jesus’ original twelve Apostles. He preached the Gospel with great passion, often in the most difficult circumstances. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he made profound differences in people’s lives as he offered them the Word of God.

Through his intercession to Jesus on our behalf, St. Jude takes us into his continuing care. He welcomes our prayers of gratitude to God, our petitions for strength and help, and offers hope for every intention.

The Gospel tells us that St. Jude was a brother of St. James the Less, also one of the Apostles. They are described in the Gospel of Matthew as the “brethren” of Jesus, probably cousins.

St. Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand. This recalls one of his miracles during his work spreading the Word of God. King Abagar of Edessa asked Jesus to cure him of leprosy and sent an artist to bring him a drawing of Jesus. Impressed with Abagar’s great faith, Jesus pressed His face on a cloth, leaving the image of His face on it. He gave the cloth to St. Jude, who took the image to Abagar and cured him.

After the death and resurrection of Jesus, St. Jude traveled throughout Mesopotamia, Libya, and Persia with St. Simon preaching and building up the foundations of the early Church.

Tradition indicates that St. Jude died a martyr’s death for his unwavering faith. His body was later brought to Rome and placed in a crypt in St. Peter’s Basilica.

After his death, many turned to St. Jude for his intercession in prayer. Jesus inspired the devotion to St. Jude for St. Bridget of Sweden when he directed her in a vision to turn to St. Jude with great faith and confidence. In a vision, Christ told St. Bridget, “In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself most willing to give help.”

During the Middle Ages, St. Jude was widely venerated, but perhaps because of the confusion between his name and that of Judas Iscariot, he slipped into temporary obscurity.

In the early 20th century, St. Jude Thaddeus was relatively unknown to the general Catholic population in the US. In 1929, the first devotional services to St. Jude were held by Claretian Fr. James Tort at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in southeast Chicago; before the year ended, the country’s only National Shrine of St. Jude would be firmly established.

Word of the devotions to St. Jude gradually spread from that tiny corner of Chicago to other parts of the country. During the Great Depression and World War II, thousands of men, women, and children attended novenas at the Shrine; devotion to the “patron saint of hopeless causes” spread throughout the country.

Known as the patron saint of "lost causes" or "desperate situations", he is also the patron saint of Armenia, the City of St. Petersburg Florida, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis Tennesee, and the Chicago Police Department.