“Thanks to St. Jude for favours received” was in constant evidence in the personal ads in the local paper I read when young. I always wondered what that meant, it seemed so mysterious to a non-Catholic.
My only other reference for St. Jude is the actor Danny Thomas, who founded the famous St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital back in the early 1960s as a thank you to St. Jude for favours received when he met success in his acting career. I always wondered what that was all about too.
So here I am. As it says on The Saint Deck, “anguish” or “desperation;” St. Jude is the patron Saint of lost causes.
Jude was the brother of James and also an apostle. I didn’t know that, and he is rarely mentioned in the bible. He was martyred by being clubbed to death, hence the staff or club he is holding on the Tarot of the Saints card. His full name was Judas Thaddaeus but for obvious reasons, he is known as Jude to differentiate him from the traitorous Judas Iscariot. He is often called Thaddaeus too, again to set him apart from the Traitor.
Although there is an epistle from Jude in the New Testament, it is not actually clear that he wrote it. He may have preached the gospel with Saint Simon who shares his feast day, and they were both martyred in Persia. Or not, that is an apocryphal document so not accepted by all; another saint whose history is somewhat iffy. He is also mixed up sometimes with another Thaddaeus who preached in Mesopotamia.
It is thought that because of Jude’s neglect and apparent non-existence in accounts and documents, this is why he morphed into the patron of those who were neglected or a lost cause. That only seemed to happen in the 20th century, thus encouraging his current popularity and invocation. My edition of The Penguin Dictionary of Saints says: “St. Jude enjoys great popularity as a powerful intercessor for those in desperate straits, as students of the publicity columns of The Times newspaper are aware.” Or students of the personal ads in the Toronto Star are aware!
As the King of Coins, the coin he holds has the face of Jesus on it, and his kingly intercession for people seems to fit well with this archetype of worldly matters and practical groundedness. He is secure in his position as an apostle whether we remember him or not, and he passes that security on to those who invoke him.
That is my final card in the court cards of this deck, so I’m almost done, just six more Major cards. I shall miss these people.