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Who are the Fourteen Holy Helpers?

These heavenly companions have been helping mankind since the Middle Ages.

The Fourteen Holy Helpers are fourteen saints that are collectively invoked against various ailments and dangers.

Devotion to the Fourteen Holy Helpers began in 14th-century Germany, which was suffering under bubonic plague. Called the “Nothelfer”—“Helpers in Need” —in German, devotion to them eventually spread to other countries. Their feast is kept in some places on August 8th.

A depiction of the 14 Holy Helpers with Sts. Peter and Paul

These saints are mostly drawn from the ranks of the early Church martyrs. Each one is invoked against a particular affliction, often related to the means of their martyrdom.

Here they are:

  1. St. Acatius – 4th c. Greek captain in the Roman army. Some say he was crowned with thorns. Eventually beheaded. Invoked against headaches.
  2. St. Barbara – 3rd c. Virgin-martyr killed by her own father. Lightning struck him as punishment. Invoked against lightning and fire.
  3. St. Blaise – 4th c. Armenian martyr-bishop. Cured a child choking on a fishbone. Invoked against throat ailments.
  4. St. Catherine of Alexandria – 4th c. Egyptian virgin-martyr famous for her learning. Invoked by lawyers and against diseases of the tongue.
  5. St. Christopher – “Christ-bearer.” 3rd c. Martyr who carried the Christ Child across a stream. Invoked against travel dangers and sudden death.
  6. St. Cyriacus – 4th c. Roman deacon-martyr. Cured Diocletian’s daughter, possibly of blindness. Invoked against eye diseases.
  7. St. Denis – 3rd c. Missionary to France. Bishop of Paris. Martyred by beheading. According to legend, at his martyrdom he picked up his head and walked; hence he is often pictured with his head in his hands. Invoked against demonic attacks and headaches.
  8. St. Erasmus (Elmo) – 4th c. Italian martyr-bishop. Tortured by having his intestines pulled out. Namesake of “St. Elmo’s Fire,” electric phenomenon that precedes a storm at sea. Invoked against stomach ailments (and a favorite of sailors).
  9. St. Eustace – 2nd c. General in Trajan’s army. Saw a stag with a cross between its antlers. Converted with wife and kids. Burned alive in an oven. Invoked against fires.
  10. St. George – 4th c. Soldier under Diocletian. Killed a dragon. Saved a princess. Died a martyr. Invoked against skin diseases and palsy.
  11. St. Giles – 7th c. Athenian monk. Founded a Benedictine community in France. Told Charles Martel to go to confession. Invoked against crippling diseases.
  12. St. Margaret of Antioch – 4th c. Virgin-martyr. Converted by her holy nurse. Shepherdess. Invoked by women in childbirth and against kidney diseases.
  13. St. Pantaleon – 4th c. Doctor employed by the emperor. Nailed to a tree then beheaded. Blood, preserved in Ravello, Italy, liquefies every year. Invoked by doctors and midwives, and against lung diseases.
  14. St. Vitus – 4th c. Sicilian. Converted by his Christian nurse and her husband. All three martyred together. Invoked against paralysis, nervous diseases, and epilepsy.

One of the most universally beloved of the Fourteen Helpers is, for sure, St. Christopher. Many of us invoke him frequently for safe travels, and one of our bestselling St. Christopher visor clips will help you do just that. Compact and artfully designed, it slides neatly onto your car’s sun visor to remind you to call on his protection on every journey. Order yours today!

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