St. Raphael is one of the seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord, and one of the only
three mentioned by name in the Bible. He appears, by name, only in the Book of Tobit. Raphael's name
means "God heals." This identity came about because of the biblical story that claims he "healed" the earth
when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels in the apocryphal book of Enoch.
Disguised as a human in the Book of Tobit, Raphael refers to himself as "Azarias the son of the great
Ananias" and travels alongside Tobit's son, Tobiah. Once Raphael returns from his journey with Tobiah, he
declares to Tobit that he was sent by the Lord to heal his blindness and deliver Sarah, Tobiah's future wife,
from the demon Asmodeus. It is then that his true healing powers are revealed and he makes himself known
as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" Tobit 12:15.
The demon Asmodeus killed every man Sarah married on the night of the wedding, before the marriage could
be consummated. Raphael guided Tobiah and taught him how to safely enter the marriage with Sarah.
Raphael is credited with driving the evil spirit from Sarah and restoring Tobit's vision, allowing him to see the
light of Heaven and for receiving all good things through his intercession.
Although only the archangels Gabriel and Michael are mentioned by name in the New Testament, the Gospel
of John speaks of the pool at Bethesda, where many ill people rested, awaiting the moving of the water. "An
angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went
down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under"
John 5:1-4. Because of the healing powers often linked to Raphael, the angel spoken of is generally associated
with St. Raphael, the Archangel.
St. Raphael is the patron saint of travelers, the blind, bodily ills, happy meetings, nurses, physicians and
medical workers. He is often pictured holding a staff and either holding or standing on a fish. His feast day is
celebrated on September 29, along with St. Michael and St. Gabriel.
Prayer to St. Raphael
Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God” I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor (here mention your special intention), and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.