Saint Peregrine is one of the Patron Saints for People With Cancer
A Statue of Saint Peregrine
Saint Peregrine also had a Miraculous Conversion
Statues of Saint Peregrine show him with a festering sore on his left leg. That's because he once had a malignant tumor on this leg, and amputation seemed like the only recourse.
However, the night before the scheduled surgery, Saint Peregrine prayed before a Crucifix. During a Heavenly apparition, a mystical experience occasionally granted to one of God's servants, Jesus appeared and touched the sore. It was healed perfectly and instantaneously.
The next morning, when doctors arrived at Saint Peregine's monastery, they found him cured and the surgery was called off.
Saint Peregrine, born in 1265, lived another 20 years, until he died of a different illness at age 80.
For centuries, cancer patients have prayed to Saint Peregrine to intercede on their behalf, so they too, can recover.
Shrines to Saint Peregrine have been built around the world. Among the most famous of these is the National Shrine of Saint Peregrine, located at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica in Chicago.
Another heavily visited shrine is the small Peregrine Chapel located at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, California.
Christ the King Catholic Church in Mesa, Arizona also has a Saint Peregrine Shrine where people pray for cancer patients.
Who was Saint Peregrine?
Saint Peregrine was born Pellegrino Laziosi in Forli, Italy. His family was wealthy and not very religious. In fact, they belonged to a political party that was militantly against the Pope.
The anti-papal sentiment was so strong in Forli, a hotbed of anti-religious fervor, that the entire community was under papal sanctions. This was a very serious situation, because no Sacraments, including Mass, could be celebrated there.
Young Pellegrino grew up in this kind of environment and adopted his parents' political views.
One day a holy man by the name of Saint Philip Benizi was sent to Forli to try to convert the residents, in hopes they would repent and reconcile with the Pope.
However, his visit caused a near riot. One of the protesters was Pellegrino Laziosi, who violently opposed Philip Benizi's efforts. In fact, Laziosi, at one point, even hit Benizi.
Hitting a priest is a very offense sin for Catholics and Pellegrino Laziosi had just committed a mortal sin.
It is unclear what happened next. Pellegrino may have received a Heavenly apparition, as one account attests, or he may have just felt badly for what he had done.
In an event, he was moved by Benizi's kindness and forgiveness, even after he had violently struck him.
He repented and became a model Catholic. Eventually, he traveled to Siena and entered the Friar Servants of Mary, the same religious order that Benizi belonged to.
Pellegrino then became a priest, returned to Forli, and developed a reputation for kindness and serving the poor.
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Saint Peregrine's Work in Forli
In Forli Saint Peregrine was known as an angel of mercy. It is said that he was able to work miracles, such as being able to multiply wheat and wine.
As a penance, he either never sat down or didn't sit down for long. One account stated he didn't sit at all for 30 years. This caused him to develop severe varicose veins in his legs, which, in turn developed into an open sore. The sore then became cancerous.
It was only by Divine Intervention that his leg was spared.
That is why so many cancer patients, as well as their families and friends, implore the help of Saint Peregrine.
He was canonized on December 27, 1726 and his feast day is May 1.
Other popular patron saints for cancer patients are Saint Jude and Saint Rita, both considered to be saints that people turn to in cases where a situation seems "impossible." Saint Agatha is also a patron saint of breast cancer patients.
Why do Catholics turn to saints in the first place? The same reason we ask people here on earth to pray for us, when we need help. The saints are already in Heaven, close to God, so there' s an excellent chance our cause will be heard.
San Pellegrino water is named after Saint Peregrine
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