St. Jude Thaddeus

St. Jude

Born: Unknown

Died: beaten to death with a club, then beheaded post-mortem in 1st century Persia; relics at Saint Peter's, Rome, at Rheims, and at Toulouse, France

Feast Day: October 28

Patron Saint of: desperate causes, desperate situations, lost causes

Very little is known about our patron saint. We do know that he was possibly a cousin of Jesus and certainly one of Jesus’ disciples. We don’t know the circumstances of his becoming a disciple, but we can imagine that Jude heard Jesus preaching and was moved by what he heard – God loves everyone!

For some time Jude followed Jesus as he went about Galilee preaching. And then one day, Jesus chose Jude as one of his 12 Apostles. In Luke’s listing of the 12 (6:16) Jude’s name appears. In Matthew (10:3) and in Mark (3:18) the name Thaddeus is used. That is why we call our patron, Saint Jude Thaddeus. Jude must have been both grateful to have been chosen and frightened about how he could possibly continue the work Jesus had begun. But like the other apostles, Jude quickly learned to rely not on his own strengths but on God helping him.

Like most of the other disciples of Jesus, Jude fled when Jesus was arrested in the garden (Mark 14:50) and like the others did not stand by Jesus during the crucifixion. There can be no doubt that their betrayal weighed heavily on each of the disciples – nor can there be any doubt that they rejoiced when the Risen Christ forgave them (John 20:19).

We don’t know where St. Jude went to preach the good news of Jesus nor do we know when or where he died. He shares his feast, October 28th, with Saint Simon, presumably because they preached and died together.

The pictures of St. Jude show him with a flame over his head – a reminder that the Holy Spirit came upon him in tongues of fire at Pentecost. (Acts 2:3) He is also represented carrying an image of Jesus – a reminder that each of us is to bring Christ to others.