St. Blaise The Patron of Throats and Illnesses
Tonight when I was in church there was some time added to the end. This is because it is midwinter and the priest administers the blessing of the throats in St. Blaise’s name. Although, the feast day of St. Blaise is not until February 3rd, it was acknowledged tonight. The way that the Blessing of the Throats is honored is by having two candles that are blessed being slightly opened and pressed against the throat.
There is a reason why the Blessing of the Throats is in St. Blaise’s name. Back in the eighth century St. Blaise was born into a prominent family who raised him to trust and believe in God. Once he had become a bishop a new persecution of Christians began. He then received a message from God to go into the hills to escape this persecution. So, when he went up there he found a cave that was surrounded by men hunting wild animals. Blaise was not afraid of healing them. Once they recognized that he was a bishop when they were healed they had captured him and took him back to the town for a trial. There he was sentenced to starve to death. However, when he was on the way back he spoke to a wolf about not taking a pig that belonged to a woman. In gratitude for his deed the woman sneaked food into the prison with candles. However, the governor eventually killed Blaise. There is also a story of when St. Blaise comes from a young boy who came to him with a fish bone stuck in his throat and his throat was healed.
Photo courtesy of http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=28