Who is St. Jude?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

St. Jude is not as many think, Judas Iscariot. In fact, Christians have tried for many years to distinguish between the two, because like Judas, St. Jude was one of Christ’s apostles. He may be referred to as Thaddeus or Jude, son of James, to make this distinction clearer.

St. Jude might be called upon in prayer.
St. Jude might be called upon in prayer.

The saint has great importance in the early proselytization of Christianity. He is considered one of the founders of the Armenian Christian Church, and his travels after Christ’s death, according to legend, include trips to Samaria, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya. He is considered to have suffered greatly for his open evangelical practice. Also, according to legend, his father was executed to punish St. Jude for spreading Christianity.

St. Jude is associated with St. Jude's Children's Hospital, which does a lot of work related to childhood cancer.
St. Jude is associated with St. Jude's Children's Hospital, which does a lot of work related to childhood cancer.

Like many early Christians who were open in trying to spread the message of Christianity, St. Jude was martyred and probably died in about 66 CE, in Persia. He also may have authored the Epistle of Jude, which is considered part of the apocrypha. Modern Biblical scholars very much doubt that he was the author of this text, since it is written in fluent Greek and more closely resembles styles of 2nd century writing.

What many find interesting about St. Jude is that, in the 1800s, he became popularly known as the patron saint of hopeless causes. People might pray to him to intervene only when their straits were most difficult. This practice originates in Italy, and soon became popular in the US, starting first in Chicago.

If prayers were answered and the desperation of a hopeless cause was lifted, people often felt obligated to publish a prayer to St. Jude in the local newspaper. Today, because of the expense of publishing in newspapers, many people publish these prayers for free on the Internet. According to ritual — in particular, Catholic ritual — prayers to St. Jude have to be said or published for nine successive days to properly thank the saint for his intercession and to honor Christ.

The saint is also associated with the renowned St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, which has been tremendously successful in researching and treating childhood cancer. The hospital is open to anyone, regardless of ability to pay or religious orientation, and is one of the finest children’s hospitals in the US. It is a hospital for those with the desperate and worthy cause of looking to cure childhood cancers.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


I want to propagate St. Jude’s prayer. St. Jude is invoked in desperation and is the patron saint of desperate cases. He has never failed me, and words cannot articulate my gratitude for his incessant support.

St. Jude, thank you for you unceasing and unbroken intercession. Never have you failed me, and through taxing times you continue to amaze me. Most recently, I truly appreciate your help after surgery- the healing process has been remarkable and rapid! Please continue to help me during the recovery process, healing properly each day with no complications.

Thank you, God, for answering my prayer. Thank you, St Jude, for hearing my prayers, shining your light on me and interceding on my behalf. St Jude, pray for me and all who invoke your aid!


@alex94: St. Jude has helped to push the overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20% in 1962 to 80% today. Their daily operating cost is over $1.5 million and is supported by public contributions. As a matter of fact, over the last five years, 81 cents of every dollar that they have received has supported research and treatment at St. Jude.

They do allow people to come and volunteer. Many of the volunteers work with the children doing activities and such. Your sister-in-law would probably love it.


@alex94: St. Jude is one of the awesome places I have ever encountered. It is actually called St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It is located in Memphis, Tennessee. St. Jude’s opened on February 4, 1962 and was founded by Danny Thomas. The mission of St. Jude’s is to hopefully find cures for children suffering from cancer and other devastating diseases through their excellent research and treatment.

The hospital has 78 inpatient beds and treats more than 260 patients each day. St. Jude is also the first and only pediatric cancer center that has been designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. It is also the only pediatric cancer research center where families never have to pay for treatment that might not be covered by their insurance.


My sister-in-law is considered doing volunteer work for St. Judes Hospital. I always donate when people are collecting money for them but I was wondering if anyone has any more information about them.

Post your comments
Forgot password?