Born: First century
FEast: Oct. 28th
Patron of: Armenia, lost or desperate causes, hospitals
Jude, not the same Apostle as Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus, was nonetheless another apostle - the brother (or possibly son) of James (the less) and another possible cousin or relative of Jesus. In Matthew and Mark's Gospels, Jude is known instead as Thaddeus, a possible nickname (or whole separate person!) Regardless, this was one of the twelve of Jesus' closest apostles, and he had several pieces recorded in the Gospels about him that set him apart.
Historians say that he was likely a farmer, and that he could have even been the groom at the wedding at Cana, as he was likely Jesus' cousin, the son of Clopas. He is also the apostle who, at the Last Supper, was recorded to have asked Jesus why he would not show himself to the whole world after his Resurrection.
There is an Epistle of St. Jude, though historians are now not sure if it is written by the Apostle (since he mentions 'the apostles' without including himself), and in it he mentions that Jesus' followers should persevere despite any desperate circumstances, which is how his patronage came to be. Many later saints also prayed to him and were told in visions that he was to be "Patron of the Impossible", which was important since, for many years, Jude had become "the forgotten saint" since people had avoided praying to him, worried he was the same as Judas Iscariot.
He is said to have been martyred in Persia, Beirut, or Armenia along with Simon the Zealot who had been his preaching companion. Before then, they had traveled through Judea, Samaria, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya and speaking about Jesus. He and St. Simon's remains were taken by followers to St. Peter's Basilica or an island in a lake in Kyrgyzstan. He is pictured usually with an ax or club (possible methods of his martyrdom).
As patron of hopeless and difficult causes, your job is a tough one. Please bring us even the littlest bit of hope when we are in despair, even the smallest peace when we think we can’t go on. even the tiniest miracle when we are losing faith. Protect us from feeling unfairness and loss. Amen.
Inspiration for Jude came from a few family members' portraits who embodied the hope in desperation that Jude is called upon to face. His hair, clothing, and expression are all a little rumpled and desperate as well, trying to manage the situation at hand. His badge on his jacket incorporates all his symbols, and the colors I chose are dark and neutral much like dire situations are.