What better way to reflect on the suffering, the faith and the
ultimate triumph of St. Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer
patients, than by wearing jewelry which bears his image?
Catholics have long used jewelry as an affirmation of their faith,
as well as a visual reminder throughout the day of the importance
of walking with God. Wearing a St. Peregrine medal or a St. Peregrine
necklace is the perfect reminder to slow down long enough to offer
a prayer of hope, of thanksgiving, or even to request the intervention
of this patron saint of cancer patients.
St. Peregrine's journey of faith is more - much more - than just
a story of a faithful servant healed by the touch of Christ. This
figure displayed a depth of faith, devotion and love that those
of us on a spiritual journey strive to attain.
Born in 1265 to a wealthy family in Forli, Italy, the figure
who eventually became the patron saint of cancer patients, those
with HIV and other life threatening illnesses, showed no indication
that he would live a reflective life of devotion.
As a young man, he was a member of the local anti-papist political
group - the party that opposed the pope and the Catholic Church.
So strong were his views - and so intense his dislike for the
Church - that when the pope sent Philip to mediate a problem,
Peregrine slapped him on the cheek.
Philip's reaction to this abuse shocked the young man. For Philip
performed the literal Biblical response Jesus talked about: he
offered the other cheek for Peregrine to slap.
That event marked the spiritual journey of this man. When a vision
of the Virgin Mary instructed him to join the Servites, an order
of the Catholic Church which dedicated their works to the Virgin
Mary, Peregrine immediately obeyed.
Upon completing his initiating into the order, Peregrine said
his vows which - much to his astonishment - were heard by the
same priest he had slapped years before, Philip.
This coincidence sent Peregrine into a self-imposed penance.
He chose to stand whenever the situation allowed for it for the
next 30 years. Because of this, he not only developed varicose
veins, but open sores and cancer on his lower leg and feet. His
medical condition became so bad that he was told he must undergo
an amputation of the foot.
On the eve of his amputation, Peregrine prayed at the foot of
a large crucifix - a statue of Christ hanging on the cross. After
falling into a trance-like state, Peregrine experienced a vision
of Christ touching his diseased foot. When he awoke from this
state, he discovered that his foot had been healed.
The lesson this patron saint of cancer patients provides us is
that faithfulness to God is never easy, but is the rock upon which
we can build our lives - especially when the future appears clouded
with a chronic or life-threatening illness.
By wearing jewelry, like a St. Peregrine necklace or a St. Peregrine
chaplet, we can have a constant visual reminder of the faithfulness
of God's servant. St. Peregrine medals can provide you with the
constant comfort and knowledge that God is there for you in your
hour of need.
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