AKA: Physicians, Surgeons
Doctors play a critical role by providing medical care and treatment to patients who are sick or injured. They are responsible for diagnosing illnesses, creating treatment plans, and providing ongoing care to help patients recover and manage their health. Doctors also work to prevent illnesses by promoting healthy behaviors and providing vaccinations and other preventative treatments.
However, being a doctor can also come with significant challenges and struggles. Just starting their career challenges doctors because of the high cost of medical school and ongoing education and training saddling them with significant student loan debt, which can put them under financial stress and make it difficult to start a family or buy a home.
One of the biggest challenges doctors face is the high level of stress and pressure that comes with their job. They are often required to work long hours and deal with difficult and emotionally challenging situations, such as treating patients with difficult situations or even life-threatening illnesses or injuries. This can take a toll on their mental, physical and spiritual health and lead to burnout or health problems.
And now we have so many attacks on the conscientious Doctors who want to treat the whole person and to follow Catholic teachings, particularly in regard to the sanctity of life. That can be not only stressful but can be career ending.
Despite these challenges, doctors continue to work tirelessly to provide the best possible care to their patients along with their nurses. They are often driven by a sense of compassion and a desire to make a positive impact on people's lives. Many doctors find ways to manage their stress and challenges of their jobs by practicing self-care and seeking support from family and friends but also their colleagues and peers through organizations such as the Catholic Medical Association. They also seek help from the saints for their intercessory prayers.
Who is the Patron Saint of Doctors
St. Luke the Evangelist is usually the go-to saint for doctors with his great awareness as an Apostle and author of some books of the Bible. However, there are also the twin Saints Cosmas and Damien, St. Raphael the Archangel and St. Gianna Beretta Molla.
St. Luke the Evangelist, also known as St. Luke the Physician, was in fact both a physician and a slave. This would not have been uncommon as slave owners would have appreciated having someone around to take care of the them when they were sick. He was also the author of one of the Gospels and part of the Acts of the Apostles. In his writing, it is said that he used medical terminology and in describing his care, it reflected what is found in the Hippocratic oath.
From his writing, we can also see that Luke had an attention and care for the poor and the oppressed. He encouraged tenderness and compassion as seen with the stories of Lazarus and the Good Samaritan.
Saints Cosmas and Damien were twin brothers who were born in Arabia in the 3rd century. They were both doctors and according to legend, practiced medicine without charging any fees, and were known for their miraculous healings. They were also known for their strong faith and for spreading the Christian message throughout the region. Their good works as Christian doctors however made them a target and were martyred during the Roman persecution of Diocletian.
The story of Saints Cosmas and Damian has inspired many doctors throughout history, who have looked to them as examples of charity and devotion to healing.
The tradition of honoring Saints Cosmas and Damian as patron saints of doctors dates back to the Middle Ages, when they were seen as powerful intercessors for healers. The medical profession has long recognized the importance of their noble generosity and continues to honor them to this day.
St. Raphael the Archangel, who is technically the patron saint of healing is definitely worthy of intercession for doctors. He was mentioned in the Bible with healing in the Book of Tobit. Perhaps ask for his intercession right before you see a patient.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla was an Italian pediatrician, a mother of four and the first female physician beatified by the Catholic Church. Gianna, who received degrees in both medicine and surgery, was known for her compassion and dedication to her patients and was also deeply committed to her Catholic faith.
During her fourth pregnancy, Gianna was diagnosed with a tumor on her uterus. She was given the option of having a hysterectomy, which would have saved her life but would have resulted in the death of her unborn child, or of having a less invasive procedure that would have put her own life at risk but would have allowed her child to survive. St. Gianna chose the latter option and gave birth to a healthy baby girl, but tragically died just a few days later from complications related to her surgery.
Gianna's selfless sacrifice and dedication to her patients and family have made her a beloved figure among doctors and healthcare workers, who often turn to her as a symbol of the importance of compassion, dedication, and faith in the medical profession. She is also regarded as a champion of the sanctity of life and a powerful advocate for the protection of unborn children.
Click here for our list of Patron Saints.
Prayers for Doctors
Prayer of the Catholic Physician
Divine Physician, who in your earthly life showed special concern for those who suffer and entrusted to your disciples the ministry of healing, make us ever ready to alleviate the trials of our brethren. Make each one of us, aware of the great mission that is entrusted to him, strive always to be, in the performance of daily service, an instrument of your merciful love. Enlighten our minds, guide our hands, make our hearts diligent and compassionate. Ensure that in every patient we know how to discern the features of your divine Face.
You who are the Way, provide us with the gift of knowing how to imitate you every day as medical doctors not only of the body but of the whole person, helping those who are sick to tread with trust their own earthly path until the moment of their encounter with You.
You who are the Truth, provide us with the gift of wisdom and science in order to penetrate the mystery of man and his transcendent destiny as we draw near to him in order to discover the cause of his malady and find suitable remedies for it.
You who are the Life, provide us with the gift of preaching and bearing witness to the ‘Gospel of life’ in our profession, committing ourselves to defending it always, from conception to its natural end, and to respect the dignity of every human being, and especially the dignity of the weakest and the most in need.
Make us O Lord, Good Samaritans, ready to welcome, treat, and console those we encounter in our work. Following the example of the holy medical doctors who have preceded us, help us to offer our generous contribution to the constant renewal of health care structures.
Bless our studies and our profession, enlighten our research and our teaching. Lastly, grant to us, having constantly loved and served You in our suffering brethren, that at the end of our earthly pilgrimage we may contemplate your glorious countenance and experience the joy of the encounter with You in your Kingdom of joy and everlasting peace. Amen
Prayer for Doctors and Healthcare Workers
O merciful Father, who have wonderfully fashioned man in your own image, and have made his body to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, sanctify, we pray you, our doctors and nurses and all those whom you have called to study and practice the arts of healing the sick and the prevention of disease and pain.
Strengthen them in body and soul, and bless their work, that they may give comfort to those for whose salvation your Son became Man, lived on this earth, healed the sick, and suffered and died on the Cross. Amen.
Prayer to St. Luke for Doctors
Most charming and saintly Physician, you were animated by the heavenly Spirit of love. In faithfully detailing the humanity of Jesus, you also showed his divinity and his genuine compassion for all human beings.
Inspire our physicians with your professionalism and with the divine compassion for their patients. Enable them to cure the ills of both body and spirit that afflict so many in our day. Amen.
Related Patron Saint Jewelry and Rosaries
Buy some beautiful St. Luke, Sts. Cosmos and Damien, St. Raphael and St. Gianna Molla jewelry to keep you or your loved one close to the patron saint of doctors and be a symbol of your faith.