Facts about St. Peregrine Novena
Feastday: May 1st
Novena Starts: April 22nd
Patron saint of cancer patients, AIDS, the sick, incurable illnesses
Death: May 1st, 1345
The Life of St. Peregrine
Peregrine Laziosi was born in Forli, northern Italy, in 1260.
He was the only son of a wealthy family. This part of Italy belonged to the Papal States, a geographic area controlled by the Pope. The Papal States came about in the Middle Ages when the people of Italy needed defense against the bellicose Lombards, and the Pope was the most stable leader in the area.
Peregrine’s family were actually in opposition to the Papal State, and because of this, they were under interdict. (The pope can place a nation or area under interdict if they are opposing the Church in a dangerous way, and this means that sacraments are invalid in that area. The purpose of an interdict is to place pressure on the dissenting leader to bring them and their area back into harmony with the Church.)
St. Philip Benizi, head of the Servite Order, was sent to heal the division and end the interdict. He preached in Peregrine’s hometown of Forli, and Peregrine, then eighteen years old and following his family’s anti-papal prejudice, ridiculed St. Philip and attacked him.
St. Philip fled for life, but God used this event to bring Peregrine to repentance and conversion.
Peregrine sought out St. Philip and begged his forgiveness, which was readily granted. Peregrine realized that the path to true holiness was in following Christ and the Church. He embarked upon a new life of prayer and works of charity.
He joined the Servite Order in Siena and was ordained to the priesthood.
Peregrine was eventually stationed in Forlì and moved the people through his holiness, care for the sick and needy, and eloquent preaching. One miraculous story of his life tells that, reminscent of Christ, he multiplied grain and wine during a famine in the region. Due to his wisdom, he became known as “the Angel of Good Counsel.”
Peregrine was called to extraordinary sacrifices and sufferings. For example, he chose to stand whenever and wherever he could, and no matter how exhausted he was. Due to this penitential practice of standing at all times, Peregrine developed varicose veins, and subsequently more serious problems with his foot and leg.
Peregrine became the patron saint of cancer patients in the following way: He was sixty years old when his right leg got infected due to cancer. Medical expertise at the time was limited, and the doctor saw no alternative but to perform an amputation on his leg. Peregrine was resigned to our Lord’s will on the matter, and the night before the amputation he spent hours deep in prayer before a Crucifix. It was then that Christ appeared to him, descending from the Cross, and touched his leg.
The doctor came the next day and was astonished to find that the infection and cancer were completely gone. The doctor made this miracle known far and wide, and Peregrine’s fame spread as a result.
Saint Peregrine died of a fever on May 1, 1345. He was 85 years old. Some of the sick people who came to honor him were healed of their ailments through his prayers.
St. Peregrine was canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII.
St. Peregrine Novena
Intro Prayer (to be said each day)
O good St. Peregrine, patron of those suffering from foot ailments, cancer, and incurable diseases, grant, we beseech you, relief from suffering to (name the names of the persons who are ill).
In your compassion, we beg you to intercede with Our Lord Jesus Christ that mankind may soon find a cure for the dread disease of physical cancer as well as for the moral cancer which grips so much of our world today. Amen.
Daily Novena Prayers
Day 1: O great St. Peregrine, who were yourself converted from a violent and sinful life, grant that those who have strayed from the way of Christ may, like you, be given the grace to repent and amend their ways. Amen. St. Peregrine, pray for us.
Day 2: Good St. Peregrine, who bore the agonies of cancer patiently for so many years, grant us the courage and faith to stand up under our own sickness or weakness. Amen. St. Peregrine, pray for our fortitude.
Day 3: St. Peregrine, as His priest, you dwelt for many years in peace in the House of the Lord. Intercede for us with Him, then, that this troubled world, torn by hatred and violence, may at last know the blessedness of peace with justice. Amen. St. Peregrine, help us bring lasting peace to the world.
Day 4: St. Peregrine, you became a model priest and eloquent preacher. Grant us more vocations in these troubled times. Amen. St. Peregrine, inspire more young men and women to follow in the footsteps of Christ just as you did.
Day 5: O St. Peregrine, just as you were cured from cancer of the body, intercede for us that the cancer of disregard for life may be removed from the world today. Amen. St. Peregrine, pray that the people of the world may heed the teachings of Christ.
Day 6: St. Peregrine, as a youth you led a life of sin. May our Divine Lord grant that your own conversion may inspire our wayward young people today to change their lives as you did and return to Christ. Amen. St. Peregrine, pray for our young people.
Day 7: St. Peregrine, God granted you the grace of a long and fruitful life. Ask Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to lighten the burden of so many of our aged today who are spending their twilight years in pain, sorrow, and loneliness. Amen. St. Peregrine, bring comfort to our aged in their last days.
Day 8: O St. Peregrine, we ask you to heed the anguished cries of those dying from starvation throughout the world today, especially children and old people. Amen. St. Peregrine, pray that relief may come to those who are suffering from hunger and thirst in body and soul.
Day 9: Finally, O good St. Peregrine, we ask that you intercede for those whom God sees fit to call home. May they die in happiness and peace, confident that they will be with You forever in the presence of Jesus and Mary. Amen. St. Peregrine, pray that we may have strength and comfort in the hour of our death.
Concluding Prayer for each day
Glorious wonder-worker, St. Peregrine, you answered the divine call with a ready spirit, and forsook all the comforts of a life of ease and all the empty honors of the world to dedicate yourself to God in the Order of His holy Mother. You labored manfully for the salvation of souls. In union with Jesus crucified, you endured painful sufferings with such patience as to deserve to be healed miraculously of an incurable cancer in your leg by a touch of His divine Hand. Obtain for me the grace to answer every call of God and to fulfill His will in all the events of life.
Enkindle in my heart a consuming zeal for the salvation of all men. Deliver me from the infirmities that afflict my body, especially (name any ailments you may have).
Obtain for me also a perfect resignation to the sufferings it may please God to send me, so that, imitating our crucified Saviour and His sorrowful Mother, I may merit eternal glory in heaven. Amen.
More Resources on St. Peregrine
My own daughter, Josephine, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was four years old. We immediately turned to novena prayers, and it was in this way that I discovered that Saint Peregrine was the patron saint of cancer.
I added the St. Peregrine novena to the Catholic Novena mobile app, and many people shared with me how much they wanted to pray the novena to him, for themselves or their loved ones who were suffering from cancer.
I am happy and grateful to say that, by God’s grace, the chemotherapy worked and my daughter’s cancer went into remission. All I can say is: turn to St. Peregrine to pray for healing from cancer!