Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Patron of Throat Illnesses
Feast day: February 3
Many Catholics might remember Saint Blaise's feast day because of the
Blessing of the Throats that took place on this day. Two candles are
blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat as the
blessing is said. Saint Blaise's protection of those with throat
troubles apparently comes from a legend that a boy was brought to him
who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The boy was about to die when
Saint Blaise healed him.
Very few facts are known about Saint Blaise. We believe he was a
bishop of Sebastea in Armenia who was martyred under the reign of
Licinius in the early fourth century.
The legend of his life that sprang up in the eighth century tell us
that he was born in to a rich and noble family who raised him as a
Christian. After becoming a bishop, a new persecution of Christians
began. He received a message from God to go into the hills to escape
persecution. Men hunting in the mountains discovered a cave surrounded
by wild animals who were sick. Among them Blaise walked unafraid, curing
them of their illnesses. Recognizing Blaise as a bishop, they captured
him to take him back for trial. On the way back, he talked a wolf into
releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman. When Blaise was sentenced
to be starved to death, the woman, in gratitude, sneaked into the prison
with food and candles. Finally Blaise was killed by the governor.
Blaise is the patron saint of wild animals because of his care for
them and of those with throat maladies.