We all have our favorite saints, and I’m no different. I have a few I turn to frequently whose stories have spoken to my heart. When my husband was deployed to the Gulf of Aden in the Middle East, I would ask for the intercession of St. Michael to keep him safe. Since my husband is a pilot, I also find myself turning to St. Joseph (aka “The Flying Friar”) with my prayers. I often feel a kinship with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who would worry about her son who was in the Navy. I know we experienced similar anxieties while having loved ones out to sea. I’ve chosen these saints because I know they’ve experienced the same challenges that I’m facing. They’ve been through it and come out on the other side.
Life hands us many challenges to overcome. Just like us, many (now) saints earned money, spent money, and had to overcome financial challenges. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about your debts, you’re not alone. Millions of people are dealing with all sorts of financial stress. Often, getting ahead may feel unreachable. Asking for the intercession of the saints doesn’t negate the necessity of hard work, but we’re encouraged in Matthew 7:7-8 to ask for help when he says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Here are a few saints you can turn to next time you’re feeling a financial pinch.
1. St. Anthony of Padua
St. Anthony is known for being the patron saint of lost items, but he’s also known for advocating on behalf of debtors. In 1231, St. Anthony petitioned the Council of Padua to pass law to benefit the debtors who could not pay their obligations. At that time, money lenders were loaning money at excessive interest, so only desperate people would consult a money lender. St. Anthony was known to advocate for them and campaigned for change to this predatory system. We usually think of St. Anthony when we can’t find our keys, but consider asking for his intercession next time you’re dealing with a debt load.
2. St. Edwiges
St. Edwiges was the wife of a rich businessman who lived in the 13th century. She was known for visiting debtors in jail and helping them find jobs once they were released. Her fortunate life was challenged when her husband was arrested and died from a disease he contracted while in prison, leaving her to enter a convent to which her daughter already belonged. Despite her poverty, she remained faithful and charitable. She personally reminds me that generosity isn’t a luxury. We are called to have open hearts, no matter our financial circumstances.
3. St. Matthew the Apostle
St. Matthew was a tax collector and was even sitting in a tax booth when Jesus called him to become one of his apostles. It may strike you as odd to reach out to a tax collector like Matthew when you’re dealing with debt, but he was a financial wiz. The Gospel of Matthew is full of insight on how to keep our finances in perspective. For instance, Matthew 6:21 tells us, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” And in Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” He tells us to be concerned with things of heaven and less concerned with worldly affairs. St. Matthew encourages me because he was actually “good” with money by the world’s standards. Financial stress isn’t limited to those with debt. The Gospel of Matthew can be helpful to those who struggle honoring God as their master rather than money.
4. St. Jude
Handling a debt load may sometimes cause us to feel desperate and hopeless. St. Jude, the patron saint of desperate situations, may be the perfect saint for those days of anxiety. St. Jude is known for helping Danny Thomas, the founder of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Danny was in desperate need of financial help and a job. He prayed for the intercession of St. Jude and now the research hospital is now named for the saint of lost causes.
Combining an action plan, some hard work, and prayer to these helpful patron saints may help you pay off your debts. When I’m faced with money matters, they always help me remember, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Originally published November 9 2020.