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St. Peregrine

Born: 1265
Died: May 1st, 1345
FEast: May 1st
Patron of:  
cancer, aids, terminal illness



 Peregrine was the only son of a wealthy family in Forli, Italy. When he was a teenager, he became very politically active in his community. He and his family were part of an anti-Papal group, and Peregrine himself was the leader of the group of rebels. Soon, Pope Martin IV placed Forli under an interdict, which closed all the churches as punishment for their rebelliousness. Still not abiding, the Pope sent St. St. Philip Benizi to try and stop an uprising. While trying to calm the citizens, Peregrine, who was then 18, and his group, pulled Philip off of his platform, made fun of him, and beat him, Peregrine himself striking him rather violently in the face. Later, remorseful about his act, Peregrine went to Philip to apologize and was greatly moved when the man, who had every right to be angry, met him with kindness and forgiveness instead. He then became a supporter of Philip Benizi and often prayed for him. This made such an impact on Peregrine that his political and faith ideas changed completely and he joined the Servite Order in Siena. Benizi himself welcomed him there.

Peregrine made it his mission to help the impoverished and sick members of his community, becoming ordained a priest, and later founding his own Servite house. He was greatly loved by the people he served, and had a saying, “Better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today!”, and often saw his good works as atonement for past misdeeds. He was known to give good advice, loved preaching, and always stood when it was possible not to sit, lending a theory to some that he never sat down for 30 years. He even was reputed to have performed a miracle when his area experienced a bit of a famine and he was able to miraculously multiply grain and wine.

A few years after he founded his own monastery, it was found that he had cancer in his right foot. It was decided that his leg needed to be amputated when a horribly painful wound appeared. The night before he was to be operated on, however, Peregrine prayed unceasingly until falling asleep and dreaming of Jesus touching the infected spot on his leg. In the morning, the surgeon could find no trace of the cancer.

The people of Forli, after learning of this miraculous cure, then began to also come to Peregrine for healing, which he was often able to accomplish with Divine help. He later passed away at the age of 85.



AS patron saint of cancer, be with those of us and those we love who are afflicted by this terrible disease. Be with them in every pain, every loss, every frustration, every fear, and every loss of hope, for you know each of these. Bring them healing and peace as you were granted, and be with them for every step of this unfair journey. 

Art Reflection


Peregrine is clearly under stress in this image, not only from his physical pain, but from not being able to work and help others in the way he is used to. His face has a look of questioning God about this pain, and his walking cane rests beside him as if he has just fallen a moment before.


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