In most if not all cultures, societies, and organizations, the elderly members are treated with a special level of respect and are often called upon for advice, wisdom, and stories to learn from. The Church is no different! Consider the elderly priests and religious we can look up to for their long lives spent loving the Lord, or the couples who have been married for many decades offering marriage advice to the young couple preparing for their wedding.
With age comes experience: that goes for both mistakes and accomplishments. We can learn countless lessons from the elderly people in our lives as well as the saints in heaven who lived long lives.
You can ask for intercession from these saints or pray any of these novenas at any time for whatever your intention may be. You may also consider the saint’s patronage as it might line up with your intention. If you don’t have a specific intention to pray for, consider praying for the elderly in general; pray for those who have been forgotten, those who are suffering physical ailments, those who are near death, and especially those who have no one to pray for them.
Saint Jeanne Jugan
Saint Jeanne Jugan is the patron saint of the elderly and destitute. She was born in France and had a heart for the poor and elderly. She would often say “the poor are our Lord.” In the mid-1800s, St. Jeanne founded a religious order dedicated to praying and caring for the elderly in need; it is called the Little Sisters of the Poor and is still active and thriving today. She wrote: “With the eye of faith, we must see Jesus in our old people—for they are God’s mouthpiece.”
Her feast day is August 30; ask for her prayers!
Saint Catherine Laboure
St. Catherine Laboure is another patron saint of the elderly. She is most known for receiving visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and creating the miraculous medal at Mary’s request. Living in the 1800s, she joined the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. She spent much of her life serving the elderly and sick. You can pray the Saint Catherine Laboure Novena for any intention, but consider praying it for an elderly person or a group of people.
St. Anthony is patron of the elderly in addition to his patronage of finding lost things, which he is largely called upon for. He was a Franciscan serving in Padua although he was born in Portugal. His feast day is June 13, but you can pray the St. Anthony Novena anytime and for any intention!
Saint John Paul II
St. John Paul II was a young pope and appealed (and still appeals) to young people in the Church! But he also witnessed to people all over the world what it looks like to grow old and suffer well for Jesus. St. John Paul II endured Parkinson’s disease and suffered in his old age in the last years of his papacy. You can pray the St. John Paul II Novena for any intention; consider praying it for someone who is near death, suffering a physical sickness, or facing a chronic or terminal diagnosis.
St. Joseph is often portrayed in imagery as an older man. While the specific dates of his death are unknown, we do know that he died prior to Jesus’s passion. He is the patron of a happy death, which involves being content and at peace at the time of death. Pray this Novena to St. Joseph for his intercession for a happy death.
The Bible directs older men and women to proclaim sound doctrine in different ways. Titus 2:2-5 says “Older men are to be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”
Let us pray for older men and women on their way to sainthood that they might live lives that are pleasing to the Lord.