Jesus Christ commands us to “not worry about tomorrow” but we all experience worry, stress and anxiety in everyday life and probably much more often than we would admit it. It can be related to exams, relationships, finances and many other things and it can also affect us spiritually. Sometimes it is the feeling that we are facing these issues alone that makes us worry and stress even more but it can be of some comfort to know of people with whom we can share our anxieties with or who have gone through similar (or even more difficult) experiences and came out with some helpful insights.
Below are a few saints with whom we can ask for prayers in times of stress and also provide some advice for us in those difficult times:
1. St Padre Pio
His most famous saying is “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry!” and it comes from someone who, despite great difficulties in life, truly believed in God’s Providence and that worry was useless. His simple saying about not worrying is coupled with hope which gives us the ability to believe that all things work for the good and the best way to grow stronger in hope is through prayer. Padre Pio had his fair share of difficulties in his life but he was always known for his joyfulness, peacefulness and the love which he showed to everyone which are all fruits and signs that the Holy Spirit is active in someone’s life.
2. Julian of Norwich
Though not officially canonized, she is considered by many to be a saint. Her most famous saying is “All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”. This saying reminds us that those things that worry us are temporary and will eventually fade away but what remains is God’s goodness and kindness to us and so we can always trust that God is ultimately in control and wants our good. She was someone who truly believed that all things would eventually be put right by Christ. She had faith, trust and confidence in God who “loves us and delights in us”.
3. St Dymphna
She is the patron saint of mental health mainly because, for many centuries, her shrine became known as a place of healing for those suffering from a range of mental health conditions. St Dymphna lived in the seventh century and was the daughter of an Irish pagan king and his wife was a devout Christian but, shortly after his wife died, St Dymphna had to flee to the European mainland but was hunted down and martyred for her Christian faith. The town where she is buried is known for taking particularly good care of mental health patients for over a thousand years.
4. St Jude
As Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases, St Jude is the saint many people turn to when all seems lost. There are a few theories as to how he came to take on this patronage but the most commonly held theory is that, because his name sounds so close to Judas’, most people would likely turn to any of the other Apostles or any of the other saints to ask for their prayers and so, as the explanation goes, St Jude is often a last resort but, at the same time, ever eager to lend his intercession for any requests, even the most hopeless.
5. St Rita of Cascia
She has a reputation comparable to St Jude’s in terms as Patron Saint of Impossible Cases. In her case, it’s probably more related to the difficulties in her life which she faced with a steely persistence, particularly in prayer. She lived in the early 1400’s and wanted to be a nun but her parents instead arranged for her to be married to a rich bad-tempered man who had many enemies. She endured many trials in her marriage but, through her example, he changed his ways and, when he died, she applied to join the convent. However, the nuns were reluctant to take her due to the bad connections her husband had but, through her persistence in prayer, they allowed her to join the community.
There are actually many other saints that can be listed but one thing common to all of them is that the saints (like the rest of us) also experienced difficulties, trials and challenges in their own lives, often even greater than our own. At the same time, they provide both an example and also someone who sees our needs from heaven and are more than willing to pray on our behalf. So, when any of us are facing problems, we don’t have to face them alone: we have God as always on our side and also a host of heavenly friends who are willing to be on hand for us with their prayers.