This week I want to do something a little different with these about lesser known saints. Sure feast days is one way to decide who gets covered but in my readings about singular saints some times I learn that they are a part of a larger group, like the Doctors of the Church. I’ve covered some of the Doctors of the Church of the 35 recognized by the Catholic Church as Pope Benedict XVI recently elevated two new Doctors, it was one of the first post I ever made talking about the John of the Cross and Hildegard of Bingen. There are others as well like the Early Church Fathers/Mothers, the virgins, and various martyrs from different countries. Today we are looking at a couple of the lesser known groups of saints, or at least I had never heard of them ever before.
The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a collection of saints that who are venerated together because it is said that their intercession work well together for various illnesses. This devotion began when the Plague was ravaging Europe especially the Rhineland in Germany. At the heart of this devotion are the holy virgin martyrs Saints Barbara, Margaret of Antioch, and Catherine of Alexandria. In the 15th century Pope Nicholas V attached an indulgence to devotion of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. These 14 saints have feast around the whole year and locally there may still be places that celebrate the feast of all fourteen saints on August 8. I hope that we all can take some time and read about these 14 different saints and help them influence our lives.
The Seven Sleepers or as they are known in Islam As-hab al Kahf. This is an interesting group as there are many various stories out there about them however they are more well known in the Muslim world. As the story goes in around 250 a group of young men wanting to escape from the persecution of the Emperor Decius fled up to the mountains where they prayed in a cave where they later on fell asleep and when they would not give up their faith Decius had the opening of the cave they lived in closed. In most stories years pass until it is some where during the reign of Theodosius II, when the farmer who owned the land decided to open the cave for a pen for his herd. The young men woke up and thought they had only slept for one day. This story is found in the Qur’an as well in (Surah 18, verse 9–26) in the Koran the story is basically the same although there is a dog amongst the companions, the number of the companions varies between the different witness and no indication of when it happened but it mentions that they stayed in the cave 300 years increased by 9
The Holy Unmercenaries are the last of the groups for today and are popular in Eastern Christianity. These saints are healers or physicians who did not accept payment for good deeds. This is a rather small group that includes my Confirmation Saint as well as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.
I hope that we can look towards these holy men and women as examples of how to live out lives.