Novenas are a profound form of prayer that Catholics can benefit from in many different ways. The purpose of novenas is to offer up our hearts and intentions to God, to grow stronger in faith and prayer life.
Fr. Matt Nathan, Benedictine’s campus chaplain shared insight and words about the importance of novenas.
“It is to direct our minds to the intentions and words of the prayer with different focus points within our relationship with God,” Nathan said.
Throughout each month of the year, prayers are offered to specific saints. These saints all have significance to each novena and are called to be present throughout the nine-day prayer. The novenas prayed in February and March to ask strong and powerful saints to listen to any intentions that are offered to them.
“If the saint’s story resonates with you, the content of the novena will resonate with you as well,” Nathan said.
During the month of February St. Scholastica, the patron saint of Benedictine nuns against storms, against lightning and against rain, asks God to grant his people innocence like hers. The St. Scholastica novena starts on Feb. 1 and ends on her feast day, Feb. 10. Within the nine day period God is asked to grant pureness of heart and mind in order to live as St. Scholastica did.
A Benedictine student, Jane Whelan shares how St. Scholastica has impacted her.
“She had so much love for God and her brother and had a huge heart. She had so much love to give even in her last moments and I really admire that” Whelan said.
The next saint that is prayed to during February is to Our Lady of Lourdes. This novena begins on Feb. 2 and ends on Feb. 11. Our Lady of Lourdes is the patron saint of illness and represents the healing power of faith, physically and spiritually. During this novena intentions are offered to heal sickness, help the suffering and cleanse sins through the power of the Lord. Our Lady is asked to be a comfort, hope, strength and consolation during times of sickness.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, prayers go to St. Valentine. St. Valentine’s novena begins on Feb. 5 and ends on, none other than, Feb. 14. He is the patron saint of love, happy marriages, mental illness, plague and epilepsy. St. Valentine’s novena is meant to recognize and give thanks to the Lord for all the grace and love he provides.
Along with getting into the spirit of holidays like Valentine’s Day, during the month of March St. Patrick’s novena is prayed. St. Patrick’s novena starts on Mar. 8 and ends on Mar. 17, also known as Saint Patrick’s Day. He is the patron saint of Ireland and engineers. During this novena, prayers to St. Patrick provide grace to love God immensely like he did.
Another saint that is prayed to in March is St. Cyril of Jerusalem. St. Cyril’s novena begins on Mar. 9 and ends on the Mar. 18. Like many of the other intentions asked for, during this novena it is asked of the Lord to reflect St. Cyril through one another and to imitate the love of Christ that was shown through St. Cyril himself.
Finally, another very important novena that is prayed begins on Mar. 10 and ends on Mar. 19. This is the St. Joseph novena. St. Joseph is the patron saint of families, carpenters, married couples, laborers, house seekers, The Universal Church and happy deaths. A few specific intentions asked of St. Joseph are for: fathers and spiritual fathers, finding a holy spouse, finding a job, adoption, expectant mothers and to die a happy death.
Caysi Brown, a Benedctine student, shares her thoughts on St. Jospeh.
“He is a good role model for male morality nowadays. His life and his actions show what true masculinity looks like” Brown said.
These things are asked of St. Joseph because of the faithfulness to the Lord he has shown and the promises he kept to Mary.
Praying the novenas through these saints and many more opens the door to a stronger connection to faith and God himself. May they provide comfort and sanctity to live out the lives God intended for his children.