While devotion to the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and in particular to Saints Christopher, Barbara and Margaret of Antioch, is not much encouraged today, the Holy Helpers have a noteworthy historical track record for interceding against the Black Plaque. Included among them is the physician saint Pantaleon.

Saints: Acacius, Barbara, Blaise, Catherine of Alexandria, Christopher, Cyriacus, Dennis, Erasmus, Eustace, George, Giles, Pantaleon, Rock, Vitus

Also sometimes included are Saints (19 Holy Helpers?):
SebastianElmoLeonardMargaret of AntiochNicholas of Myra

Meanwhile, today the Church is celebrating the memorial of

A physician and surgeon, who became a priest and truly a Servant of the Poor.

Blessed James Cusmano


Also known as

• Jacob Cusmano
• Giacomo Cusmano
• Jacques Cusmano


Fourth of five children born to Giacomo and Magdalene Cusmano; his father worked as a surveyor, and the family was well-off financially. Giacomo’s mother died of cholera when the boy was three. He was a pious child, eager for the religious instruction from his father, and showing concern for the poor; the family had to lock up clothes because he would give away thing in the closets to beggars. Educated at Jesuit schools. Physician, graduating from medical school in 1851. Taught at the medical school of the Royal University of Palermo. His father died in 1852, and Giacomo returned home to manage the family business and estate; he still managed to continue his education and become certified as a surgeon.

Feeling a call to religious vocation, he considered becoming a Capuchin friar, but his spiritual director recommended the priesthood. Ordained on 22 December 1860 in archdiocese of Palermo, Italy. Devoted to penance, he fasted often and would sleep on a cross. Along with about 40 of his parishioners, he founded the Missionary Servants of the Poor on 12 May 1867 and the Sisters Servants of the Poor.


15 March 1834 in Palermo, Italy


at 04:30am on 14 March 1888 in Palermo, Italy of natural causes following a severe bout of pleurisy


30 October 1983 by Pope John Paul II



And here are a few more:

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Saint Aloysius died while caring for victims of the plague and is considered an advocate.

Saint Camillus de Lellis – Patron Saint of Nurses

“Saint Camillus was practical as well as mystical. He wanted the best, physically, spiritually, and morally, for all those he cared for. Every patient was his Lord and Master. No patient, no matter how diseased, foul, dirty, or rude, was beyond his care. He and his brothers even took a special fourth vow to care for those with the plague who might infect them. Two Camillians died of the plague in Camillus’ own lifetime. “More love in those hands brother,” was his constant refrain to his confreres. His example resonated and the work of the Camillians continues today in various countries. “

Saint John Leonardi – Patron Saint of Pharmacists

“By 1600, Father John Leonardi was a well-known Counter-Reformation force in Italy not due to his books, new ideas, or charisma, but due to his virtue and zeal for the house of the Lord. In 1609 our saint died well, but too soon. He was infected with the plague while visiting the sick.”


Saint Jerome Emiliani

During an epidemic, Saint Jerome was assisting the sick when he contracted the plague. He died in Somasca, February 8, 1537


Saint Charles Borromeo

“He became widely loved by the faithful for his personal generosity and heroism in combating a devastating famine and plague. He stayed in Milan when most civil officials abandoned it.”