St. Peregrine Medal:
A Visual Reminder of Inner Faithfulness

Saint Peregrine

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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