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Fourteen Holy Helpers
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Fourteen Holy Helpers

The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints formerly venerated together in Roman Catholicism because prayer to them was thought to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases. This cult originated in the thirteenth century, largely as a result of the epidemic (probably of bubonic plague) that became known as the Black Death.

The saints included were:

For one or another of the saints in the original set, Anthony the Anchorite, Leonard, Nicholas, Sebastian, or Roch were sometimes substituted.

Later history has not been kind to all of the saints named to this list. Barbara, Catherine of Alexandria, Christopher, George, and Margaret of Antioch have all been dropped from the list of saints for universal veneration in the reform of the Roman Catholic liturgy in 1969, on the grounds that they were mythical. The Fourteen Holy Helpers had a collective feast day on August 8; with so many holes in the lineup, it too was dropped in 1969.