Diversity and inclusion abound in the Catholic faith. The FIRE Foundation turns to these patron saints for prayers and intercessions. Please join us in learning more about their lives and holy callings. You can also become a FIRE Foundation Prayer Blazer and commit to praying on behalf of our mission.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is the only Marian shrine in the United States on the site of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Holy Mother had already appeared twice to a young woman named Adele along a rural trail. When she appeared for the third and final time, young Adele asked, “What more can I do, dear Lady?” Mary’s direction was simple: “Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.” “But how shall I teach them who know so little myself?” Adele asked. Mary replied, “Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing. I will help you.” Adele devoted the rest of her life to spreading Mary’s good news. Her commitment continues to be as inspiring as it is humbling to the thousands of visitors that journey to the Shrine every year.
Margaret was a blind, lame, hunchbacked dwarf, and her parents were horrified. For the first six years of her life, they kept her below stairs, concealing her among the many servants in their castle so that they didn’t have to acknowledge her as their own. Then her self-absorbed parents walled her into a tiny room off the chapel. Finally, though, there was hope. Margaret’s parents had heard of miracles being performed at a shrine some hours away and decided to take her there. When she was not cured, her parents left her to her fate, abandoning their blind child, who had never been in a public place before, without even telling her they were leaving. Margaret became a beggar and was a beacon of joy to all who met her, glorying in the goodness of God when most of us would see only how He had failed to provide. Margaret eventually became a Third Order Dominican. She served the sick and the dying, visited the imprisoned, worked many miracles in life and death, and frequently levitated when at prayer. When Margaret died, thousands of people came to her funeral praising her goodness and love and above all her refusal to be bitter in the face of terrible affliction. This unwanted child who “ought never to have been born” had become a great saint of God, bringing consolation to weary hearts and glory to God’s name.
Blessed Herman of Reichenau was born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida to a farm family. His parents cared for him until the age of seven, but in 1020 they gave him over to the abbey of Reichenau Island in Lake Constance in southern Germany and he spent the rest of his life there. Herman flourished at the monastery and it was quickly discovered that while his body was crippled, his mind was extraordinary. He became a scholar in astronomy, theology, math, history and poetry. Herman was also a master of language and became fluent in Arabic, Greek and Latin. He became a Benedictine monk at age twenty. A genius, he studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. He built musical instruments, and astronomical equipment. In later life he became blind, and had to give up his academic writing. The most famous religious poet of his day, he is the author of Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater.
Upon entering the Novitiate and given his frail health and lack of a formal education, Brother André was assigned as doorkeeper of Notre Dame College in Montreal. He continued this assignment as a professed brother. Among his many duties, he greeted visitors and tended to their needs. Many people began to experience physical healing after praying with Brother André, and his reputation as a healer began to spread. So many people flocked to see him that the Congregation allowed him to see sick people at a trolley station across the street. Through it all, Brother André remained humble, often seeming confused that people would lavish such praise on him. He knew that the real source of these miraculous cures was St. Joseph’s intercession. His desire to increase devotion to St. Joseph inspired him to build a shrine to his favorite saint across the street from Notre Dame College. He saved the money he earned from giving haircuts at five cents apiece, eventually earning the $200 he needed to construct a simple structure. This shrine opened on October 19, 1904, and in 1909, Brother André was released from his duties as doorkeeper and assigned full-time as the caretaker of the Oratory of St. Joseph. The Oratory attracted large numbers of pilgrims, and plans were made to construct a large basilica. Brother André’s full-time ministry for the rest of his life was to receive the long lines of sick visitors who flocked to the Oratory to see him. He became known as the “Miracle Man of Montreal,” and thousands of miraculous healings were attributed to his intercession over the following decades.
If you are aware of other patron saints, please let us know–we’d love to include additional on our page!