Updated: Aug 3, 2022
A collection of saints and prayers to help you overcome the seven deadly sins and foster the seven capital virtues
This article will go through each of the seven deadly sins, a dangerous collection of vices, and feature a saint who will help us overcome these. I recommend to pray the given prayer to each saint, an intercessor of help, who has overcome the particular sin themselves. The respective saint can guide you in learning one of the seven capital virtues. Since it is not good enough to eliminate evil and cleanse oneself of wrongdoing, one must replace the void with virtue, with righteousness, and with goodness.
“Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
The following verse shaped the life of St. Francis of Assisi. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow Me.” (Mark 10:21)
Coming from a wealthy family, and becoming a soldier at a young age, Francis did many things in his life before he realized his true calling. In the countryside, Francis saw a leper, soon after being released from captivity (prisoner of war). His experience in prison changed him. Instead of walking past the leper, as he might have done in his youth, he embraced and kissed the poor man.
After hearing the Gospel at Mass one day, he dropped everything he had, took a vow of poverty, and lived the rest of his life in dedication to Christ and to the poor.
Let us pray that Saint Francis will help us reach the humility he found!
“O Beloved Saint Francis, gentle and poor, your obedience to God, and your simple, deep love for all God’s creatures led you to the heights of heavenly perfection and turned many hearts to follow God’s will. Now in our day, in our ministry to the many who come here searching for peace and intercede for us we come before the Lord with our special requests … (Mention your request here) O Blessed Saint of God, from your throne among the hosts of heaven, present our petitions before our faithful Lord. May your prayers on our behalf be heard and may God grant us the grace to lead good and faithful lives. Amen.”
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)
“”The greedy man is really not rich, but poor. He does not control his money but is controlled by it. He does not possess his wealth but is possessed by it. He may have many things, yet for him he has all too little.” — Saint Anthony of Padua
In the third century, St. Lawrence was a deacon entrusted by the pope to watch over the Early Church’s money and to distribute it to the poor. He became a martyr when the Romans tried to cease the money of the Roman church for themselves.
Lawrence assembled the poor of the city and “declared them to be the Church’s riches.”
“O Generous patron of the Church’s poor, St. Lawrence, pray to the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit that all the poor of the Church in need in every corner of the world may feel the effect of the love of their brothers and sisters who seek to help them. Deliver the Church from the greed and envy of the powerful and protect her rights and property so that she may serve the needy in freedom, giving them good things for soul and body. May we come some day with all those whom we helped on earth to the bright mansions of heaven where we will enjoy the riches of God’s house and the company of the Savior who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.”
“For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7)
St. Augustine was tortured by lust in his youth. He once prayed: “Make me chaste O God, but not yet.”
At the epoch of his temptations, he called upon God. “While sitting in a Milanese garden,” Owlcation writes, “he heard a child’s singsong voice, “Take and read, take and read.” He opened the scriptures at random and read these words, “The night is far spent, the day draws near. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its lusts. (Rom. 13:13–14)”
Augustine wrote in his Confessions: “… the mists of passion steamed up out of the puddly concupiscence of the flesh, and the hot imagination of puberty, so clouded over and obscured my heart that I was unable to distinguish the pure light of true love from the murk of lust. Both boiled confusedly within me, and dragged my unstable youth down over the cliffs of unchaste desires and plunged me into a gulf of infamy.”
The organization Grace to You tells the story of Augustine’s encounter with a former prostitute. “Augustine, great saint of God had lived with a prostitute before his conversion. After he was wonderfully saved, he was walking down the street and this prostitute saw him. She shouted his name and he kept walking. He saw her, but kept his eyes straightforward and walked. She continued crying after him and ran after him. And finally, she said, Augustine, it is I. To which he replied, I know, but it is no longer I.”
“O holy Saint Augustine, who has famously declared that “Our hearts were made for you, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.”, aid me in my own search for our Lord that through your intercession I may be granted the wisdom to determine the purpose God has planned for me. Pray that I be blessed with the courage to follow God’s will even at times when I do not understand. Ask our Lord to lead me to a life worthy of His love, that I may one day share the riches of His kingdom. Amen.”
Extra prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas:
“Dearest Jesus! I know well that every perfect gift, and above all others that of chastity, depends upon the most powerful assistance of Your Providence, and that without You a creature can do nothing. Therefore, I pray You to defend, with Your grace, chastity and purity in my soul as well as in my body. And if I have ever received through my senses any impression that could stain my chastity and purity, may You, Who are the Supreme Lord of all my powers, take it from me, that I may with an immaculate heart advance in Your love and service, offering myself chaste all the days of my life on the most pure altar of Your Divinity. Amen.”
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30)
In the 13th century, St. Elizabeth of Portugal, at age 12, was married to the king of Portugal. As she grew in piety, he husband grew in infidelity. Though the kingdom was in an uproar of scandal, Elizabeth did not turn away from her husband. Her steadfast faithfulness led to her husband’s repentance.
Thus, St. Elizabeth of Portugal is the patron saint of jealousy (envy).
“O God, author of peace and lover of charity, who adorned Saint Elizabeth of Portugal. With a marvelous grace for reconciling those in conflict, grant, through her intercession, that we may become peacemakers, and so be called children of God. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
“ “I have the right to do anything,” you say — but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” — but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
St. Charles Borromeo showed great discipline in his efforts to stem back the rising tide of Protestantism during the Reformation. This same fortitude must have lead to him becoming one of the patron saints of gluttony.
“O St. Charles, you are invoked as the patron of all those who suffer with stomach ailments and obesity. You are also called upon as a helper for all those attempting to diet and lose weight. Please intercede for me today and help me to control my desires and compulsions, so that I may fix my appetite on the glory of heaven. Amen.”
“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” (Psalm 37:8)
Doctor of the Church St. Jerome was known, mostly for his elegance in writing and speech, as well as his temper.
Legend has it that he would beat himself with a rock every time he let his rage overcome him.
Pope Sixtus V looking at a painting of St Jerome remarked: “You do well to carry that stone, for without it the Church would never have canonized you.”
Jerome himself wrote the following prayer to pray in situations of anger.
“O Lord, show Your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid. I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with Your will. Let me dwell in Your house all the days of my life and praise You for ever and ever with those who are there. Amen.”
“Through slothfulness the roof deteriorates, and a house leaks because of idleness.” (Ecclesiastes 10:18)
In On Sloth, Saint John Vianney writes:
“Idleness is the mother of all vices. Look at the idle; they think of nothing but eating, drinking, and sleeping. They are no longer men, but stupid beasts, giving up to all their passions; they drag themselves through the mire like very swine. They are filthy, both within and without. They feed their soul only upon impure thoughts and desires. They never open their mouth but to slander their neighbour, or to speak immodest words. Their eyes, their ears, are open only to criminal objects. . . . O my children! that we may resist idleness, let us imitate the saints. Let us watch continually over ourselves; like them, let us be very zealous in fulfilling all our duties; let the devil never find us doing nothing, lest we should yield to temptation. Let us prepare ourselves for a good death, for eternity. Let us not lose our time in lukewarmness, in negligence, in our habitual infidelities. Death is advancing: tomorrow we must, perhaps, quit our relations, our friends. Let us make haste to merit the reward promised in Paradise to the faithful servant in the Gospel!”
It is said that the 12th-century Saint Drogo was always in two places at once. Being the patron saint of coffee, he must have had tremendous amounts of energy! And being the saint of “repulsive, ugly people”, it is my guess that it was his hyper personality, rather than his looks, that must have repelled. Who knows? He might have just been ugly.
Let us pray to Saint Drogo, that he may foster in us the diligence he reached!
“O my God, I know well that so negligent a life as mine cannot please Thee. I know that by my lukewarmness I have closed the door to the graces which Thou dost desire to bestow on me. O my God, do not reject me, as I deserve, but continue to be merciful toward me, and I will make great efforts to amend and to arise from this miserable state. In the future, I will be more careful to overcome my passions and to follow Your inspirations; and never through slothfulness will I omit my duties, but will strive to fulfill them with greater diligence and fidelity. In short, I will from this time forward do all I can to please Thee, and will neglect nothing which I know to be pleasing to Thee. Amen.”