Saint Cajetan

Gaetano dei Conti di Tiene (October 1, 1480 – August 7, 1547), was an Italian Catholic priest and religious reformer, who helped found the Theatines. He is also recognised as a saint in the Catholic Church.

St. Cajetan was born in 1480, the son of Gaspar, lord of Thiene, and Mary Porta, persons of the first rank among the nobility of the territory of Vicenza, in Lombardy.

Predisposed to piety by his mother, he studied law in Padua, receiving his degree as doctor utriusque juris (i.e., in civil and canon law) at age 24. In 1506 he worked as a diplomat for Pope Julius II, with whom he helped reconcile the Republic of Venice. But he was not ordained a priest until the year 1516.

Recalled to Vicenza by the death of his mother, he founded in 1522 a hospital for incurables there. His interests were as much or more devoted to spiritual healing than the physical kind, and he joined a confraternity in Rome called "The Oratory of Divine Love". He intended to form a group that would combine the spirit of monasticism with the exercises of the active ministry.

The death of Pope Julius II in 1523 led him to withdraw from the Papal Court, and returning once more to Vicenza, he entered the confraternity of St. Jerome, which was instituted upon the plan of that of the "Oratory of Divine Love" in Rome. However, there the confraternity consisted of men from the lowest stations of life. This caused embarrassment to his friends, who thought it beneath him. He persisted and sought out the sick and the poor over the whole town, and worked in the hospitals of the incurables, the revenues of which house he considerably augmented.

A new congregation was canonically erected by Pope Clement VII in the year 1524. One of his four companions was Giovanni Pietro Carafa, the Bishop of Chieti, elected first superior of the order, who later became Pope as Paul IV. From the name of the city of Chieti (in ), arose the name by which the order is known, the "Theatines". The order grew at a fairly slow pace: there were only twelve Theatines during the sack of Rome in 1527. They managed to escape to Venice after their house in Rome was wrecked when Emperor Charles V’s troops entered the city.

There Cajetan met Jerome Emiliani, whom he assisted in the establishment of his Congregation of Clerks Regular. In 1533 he founded a house in Naples which aided those who wished to check the advances of Lutheranism. The year 1540 found him in Venice again and from there he extended his work to Verona.

He founded a bank to help the poor and offer an alternative to usurers (loan sharks). It later became the Bank of Naples.

Despite successes, he died of grief in Naples, in the Kingdom of Naples. His remains are in the church of San Paolo Maggiore in Naples; outside the church is Piazza San Gaetano, with a statue.

He was beatified on October 8, 1629, by Pope Urban VIII. On April 12, 1671, Cajetan was canonized together with Rose of Lima, Luis Beltrán, Francisco de Borja and Felipe Benicio.  He is known as the patron saint of the unemployed, and job seekers .



Novena to Saint Cajetan - Patron of the Unemployed:

Daily Prayer

O glorious St. Cajetan, you studied to be a lawyer, but when you felt that the Lord was calling you to his service, you abandoned everything and became a priest. You excelled in virtues, shunning all material rewards for your labor, helping the many unemployed people of your time. You provided loans without interest and you attracted a lot of benefactors who donated to your resources so that you could go on with your activities. Look on us with mercy. We wish to find employment that could help us and our families live with dignity. Listen to our petitions, dear saint; you, who could easily give up the food on your table for the needy, bring our petitions to Jesus (here make your request). Amen.


First Day

You were a model of virtue among the priests of your time, O St. Cajetan. You sought not to receive payments from your ministry, and you taught people how to pray the rosary and develop devotions to saints. You were truly a spiritual shepherd, and your concern was always focused on the salvation of souls. But despite this, you were also aware that with hungry stomachs, the faithful would have difficulty in understanding God’s Word. You embarked to help them, not just by giving them bread but helping them gain their living by work. Look on us with pity, O glorious saint. We have many unemployed people in our midst and their families go hungry. We ask you to guide the fathers and mothers who are looking for work. Amen.

Daily Prayer

(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be

(3) St. Cajetan, pray for us.


Second Day

Despite your busy schedule, dear saint, you spent eight hours a day in prayer. Your happiness consists in being united with Jesus, to savor his presence in the Eucharist. Guide us to be like you by giving priority to prayer in our life. Enable us to savor Jesus’ presence and help us become contemplatives like you. Inspire us to understand that prayer is not just asking Jesus for our needs, but being with him, delighting in his presence. We ask you, dear saint, to lead us in this direction that we may learn to delight in Jesus’ presence. Amen.

Daily Prayer

(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be

(3) St. Cajetan, pray for us.


Third Day

Since your death, dear St. Cajetan, the unemployed people of the world had sought your intercession. Work is the key to a happy life. Look with pity on the millions of people in our country who wake up each morning without certainty of finding food because they don’t have work. These people become victims of desperation and some even resort to crimes to survive. Help our government leaders formulate policies that will bring about employment. You who established a bank for the needy inspire our leaders to extend loans for the poor so that they may provide for the needs of their families. Amen.

Daily Prayer

(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be

(3) St. Cajetan, pray for us.


Fourth Day

O glorious St. Cajetan, like the society where you lived, we are also beset by the same economic set up where the poor are becoming poorer and the rich, richer. You fasted so that the money you saved could be used to buy food for the poor, you did not accept any payment for your ministries because you wanted people to help the needy. You lived very frugally because you wanted to teach the rich about the need to share. Look with pity on our society where resources are wasted in buying useless goods, while the poor and the needy among us have not received the basic necessities. Inspire us to share that nobody among us would go hungry, and that everybody may live with dignity. Amen.

Daily Prayer

(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be

(3) St. Cajetan, pray for us.


Fifth Day

O glorious St. Cajetan, you spent long hours helping the sick and worked yourself to exhaustion in helping victims of plagues which were frequent in your time. You cared for the sick not just to heal them, but to guide them to a happy death. You wanted their souls, not their bodies. Help us to understand that we have to prepare ourselves to a happy death. May we likewise see that the most terrible sickness is our sinfulness, and we always have to examine ourselves for the sins we commit daily. Inspire us to have repentant hearts that we may always be prepared to meet the Lord. Amen.

Daily Prayer

(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be

(3) St. Cajetan, pray for us.


Sixth Day

O humble St. Cajetan, you spoke with rulers and kings, but you never gave them much importance. You know that prestige, honor, and positions in society could only be good if they are use to help the needy and the poor. For this reason, you also confronted tyrants and stood against armies that looted, killed, and raped. Your humility did not prevent you from becoming a prophet. You only feared Jesus. Help us to remain humble and self-effacing, knowing that before God, we remain nothing. We can only be someone if we stand close to Jesus. Inspire us to follow your footsteps so that we, too, may fight for justice and help stop corruption in our government. Amen.

Daily Prayer

(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be

(3) St. Cajetan, pray for us.


Seventh Day

O glorious St. Cajetan, your unceasing fasting and penance help people understand that God must be loved above all things and above all persons. You sacrificed anything or anyone that could block you from loving God with your whole soul, mind, heart and body. By eating little, you showed to others that man does not live on bread alone. You renewed the faith of many people, touched their hearts, and helped much in the reformation of the Church. Inspire us to fast and do penance for our sins. Instill on us the spirit of sacrifice that we, too, may love God intensely as you did. Amen.

Daily Prayer

(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be

(3) St. Cajetan, pray for us.


Eight Day

O glorious St. Cajetan, it pained you to see the Catholic Church divided into hostile groups. You always prayed for unity in the Church, asking laypersons, priests, and bishops to support the Pope through preaching, prayer, and sacrifices. You see the Church as the bride of Christ, the sacrament by which men and women can become holy. You worked hard for the return of the Protestants to the Catholic Church, and you preached against Protestant reformers who were attacking the heart of Catholic teachings. Teach us then to work for unity in our Church and at the same time, to defend her from sects and religious movements that attack her. Inspire us to follow your path. Amen.

Daily Prayer

(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be

(3) St. Cajetan, pray for us.


Ninth Day

O glorious St. Cajetan, you received many special blessings from Jesus, visions and mystical experiences because of your union with him. While contemplating the mystery of incarnation, Mary appeared to you and put on your lap the baby Jesus. You held on to the baby and made your heart his dwelling place. Jesus truly loved you and his Mother trusted you. Listen then to our petitions on this last day of our novena and bring them to Jesus. Prove to us that now in heaven you are closer to Jesus and he listens to you. Amen.

Daily Prayer

(3) Our Father, (3) Hail Mary, (3) Glory Be

(3) St. Cajetan, pray for us.


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