Who Is St. Jude
Probably no saint, after the Blessed Mother, has drawn such enthusiastic followers down through the centuries as St. Jude Thaddeus. He was one of the chosen 12 Apostles; his brother was James the Less. Not too much is actually recorded about his life: it seems his big popularity began after his death.
Through history, legend and tradition, however, we can construct some details concerning this powerful intercessor and close friend of the Divine Master. St. Jude comes from the line of David and is a cousin of Jesus Christ. The Jewish people, proud of their lineage, kept exact records of their ancestors, and we see that St. Jude’s father, Cleophas, was the brother of St. Joseph. St. Jude’s mother, Mary of Cleophas, was a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary: their mothers were sisters.
St. Jude is said to have preached the gospel in such regions as Judea, Samaria, Libya, and Mesopotamia, before suffering martyrdom in Armenia, which was then part of Persia. According to one account, he is said to have cured the King of Edessa’s leprosy with an image of Jesus’ face that our Lord had pressed on a cloth.
The king was so impressed he converted to Christianity, along with much of his family and kingdom. St. Jude converted countless others to the faith as well.
He is often shown in drawings, like the one above, holding an image of Jesus in one hand and a club (a symbol of his martyrdom) in the other. Often the Holy Spirit is seen over his head as a tongue of fire (in remembrance of Pentecost when He came upon the apostles).
Death of St. Jude
For many more years, St. Jude made missionary journeys, preaching, dispensing the Sacraments throughout Mesopotamia, Armenia, and even southern Russia.
One day an enraged pagan mob fell upon the gentle and good man, and bludgeoned him to death. That is one reason why St. Jude is today pictured holding a club–in memory of his martyrdom. The bodies of St. Jude and St. Simon have lain in St. Peter’s in Rome for many centuries. St. Jude was a tireless worker–he tried–he dared to try the impossible; and he was successful. Steadfastly pure in body and soul, Jude gave of himself not only in life but in death as well.