As we head into another season of cold and flu, our thoughts might turn towards Saint Blaise prayer as a source of protection. Saint Blaise was a bishop and martyr from the fourth century who lived in a cave to avoid persecution; famous for miraculously healing a child who was choking on a fish bone due to this miracle cure, making him patron saint for throat illnesses, animals, wool combers and trading. Additionally he is one of Fourteen Holy Helpers revered as healers.
Blaise was an acclaimed physician while living undercover. People turned to him for healing of both body and soul. His teaching style combined powerful example with unfaltering faith, showing great compassion while often witnessing miraculous cures as evidenced by their results.
Rumors spread of his arrest for his Christian beliefs; when this occurred he fled into the hills and eventually settled in a cave, where he continued ministering both spiritually and physically to sick people (albeit often without their gratitude). Blaise is said to have performed two miracles while imprisoned; one involved ordering a wolf who had captured livestock back; upon hearing this appeal Blaise ordered the animal back resulting in yet another miracle being performed!
Every year on February 3rd - Saint Blaise Day - his prayer is celebrated during a service of blessing of throats led by a priest holding two lit candles across each individual person in attendance. For Hispanic countries this may also occur on Candlemas Eve (usually Sunday night before) or even on the actual feast day itself.