Do you have a personal patron Saint? While I love many different Saints for many different reasons, my favorite, go-to Saint who has gotten me through MANY difficult times is St. Jude Thaddeus.
St. Jude is most commonly known as the Patron Saint of Impossible Cases. And I have to be honest, I often feel like my life is made up of one impossible case after the other! That’s probably why we connect so well.
I can't remember how I first learned about Saint Jude, but I do remember the first time I prayed the St. Jude Novena.
I was about to graduate from college, and I had been eagerly applying to Physician Assistant (PA) schools. After going on a few interviews, I felt strongly that I belonged at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina.
But the odds of getting into ANY PA program at the time, much less your first choice, were extremely low. The competition was fierce, and there was a big emphasis on patient care hours. As a recent college graduate, I didn't have nearly the amount of patient care hours as most applicants did, but I hoped my drive, leadership experience, volunteer work, and grade point average would demonstrate my ability to thrive in PA school anyway.
After I finished the interview and felt that Wake Forest was the place for me, I began the St. Jude novena. The school said they typically would let you know within 14 days whether or not you were accepted to the program. And wouldn't you know, 9 days later (after finishing my St. Jude novena), I received my acceptance call!
I was over the moon with excitement, and from that time onward, I took seriously the line in the novena promising to "always honor and invoke [St. Jude] as my special and powerful patron.
Fast-forward four years, and I was faced with a new "impossible" situation. I was recently engaged to my fiance, who had just entered boot camp for the United States Coast Guard. Just before he started, I had accepted a new job in a popular vacation destination in Northern Michigan. Before taking the job, we talked a lot about what it would mean for our relationship, and for my career. This wasn't the type of job that I could just take and then turn around and quit. It was a job as a hospitalist PA in a very close-knit medical community. It was a large hospital, but with a small-town vibe, and the doctors, PAs, and NPs in that group welcomed me like family. We decided that it was best for me to take the job and trust that God would work out the rest.
Upon entering boot camp, you have no idea where in the US (or surrounding territories) you will end up. My fiancé literally could have been stationed anywhere from Seattle to Guam (and everywhere in between) and would have zero say in the matter. We happened to know that Michigan had the second largest amount of Coast Guard bases at the time of any state, but even so, the chances that he would end up in the small vacation town in Northern Michigan that I had just moved to were exceedingly small.
But I knew if it was God's will, St. Jude would help us out. And sure enough, nine days after starting the St. Jude novena, I got the call from my fiancé that he did, in fact, get stationed in the Northern Michigan town I recently called home.
There have been other instances of St. Jude’s intercession in my life, but these two are my favorite St. Jude novena "success" stories. I will say, there have been other times that I have prayed the novena and not gotten the answer I was hoping for. Those times are always hard, but I try to keep in mind that it just means that what I was praying for was not what God had planned for my life.
And so, as I again enter another tumultuous season of my life filled with unknowns and new circumstances, I am going to start praying the St. Jude novena. But this time, instead of asking for a specific outcome, I am asking for peace in whatever the outcome is that God has planned.
Have you prayed the St. Jude novena before? If so, I would love to hear your experiences as well! Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me over on Instagram at @sparklewithgrace.