St. Jude, known as Thaddeus in the Gospels, is always portrayed with a staff, a book, and a large medallion of Jesus’ face. The staff and book imagery makes sense—he traveled to spread the Gospel, and wrote a short epistle—but why does he carry an image of Our Lord?
The answer goes back to the time of Jesus’ public ministry.
According to legend, in the city of Edessa, King Abgar lay dying of an incurable disease. He hadn’t despaired of his life yet, however. Rumor had reached him of a holy man who worked miracles in distant Israel. With hope, Abgar sent a letter to this man, begging Him to come to Edessa.
When Our Lord was given this letter, He did not go to the dying king. Instead, He said He would send one of His apostles: Jude Thaddeus. Before Jude made the journey, however, Jesus pressed a cloth against His face, and gave the cloth to Jude.
St. Jude then went to Abgar and presented the cloth to him. It bore a miraculous impression of Christ’s face. Abgar looked upon it and was immediately healed.
That is why St. Jude, of all the Apostles, is depicted bearing the face of Christ—because he was entrusted with an image of Our Lord.
It is also part of the reason why St. Jude is the patron saint of impossible causes. He can bring Our Lord’s healing grace to any situation. Pray for his intercession with our exclusive St. Jude Impossible Causes Decade Rosary. Fashioned with beautiful, forest-green jasper beads and a silver medal of St. Jude, this pocket-sized decade rosary will comfort you or a loved one in times of trial. Includes a card with a prayer to the saint. Available today at The Catholic Company!