The Fourteen Holy Helpers or the “Vierzehnheiligen” are fourteen Catholic saints who were invoked during the Black Death pandemic of 1348-1350. In alphabetical order, the Fourteen Holy Helpers are:
1. Saint Agathius (unknown-303): a centurion who was violently martyred for the Faith. He was invoked to prevent the horrible headaches the plague caused.
2.Saint Barbara (unknown-306): a virgin who was imprisoned, tortured, and murdered by her pagan father. She was invoked to prevent high fever and sudden death. Historians say that the Black Death could cause fevers as high as 105-degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Saint Blaise (unknown-316): the martyred bishop of Sebastea, Armenia. Because he is the patron saint of people with throat problems, he was asked to prevent the sore throat caused by the Black Death.
4. Saint Catherine of Alexandria (c. 282-307): a virgin who rejected the advances of Emperor Maxminus II (c. 270-313) and was executed after she tried to convert him. She also was called upon to prevent sudden death. Saint Catherine of Alexandria later appeared to Saint Joan of Arc (1412-1431).
5. Saint Christopher (unknown-c. 251): a legendary saint who is considered the patron of travelers. In addition to protecting travelers, the 14th century Christians asked him to prevent the Black Death from spreading.
6. Saint Cyriacus (unknown-303): a Roman nobleman who was martyred during the Diocletian Persecution. Cyriacus was asked to prevent temptations at the hour of death.
7. Saint Denis (unknown-250): the bishop of Paris. Jealously over his many converts led to his death by beheading. He was also invoked to prevent headaches.
8. Saint Erasmus, also known as Saint Elmo, (unknown-c. 303): martyred by having his intestines pulled out. He was invoked to prevent severe intestinal/abdominal difficulties such as inflammation of the intestinal tract, vomiting of blood, and other problems caused by the Black Death.
9. Saint Eustace (unknown-118): a Roman general who lost everything when he converted to Christianity. He and his wife and two children were killed by the Emperor Hadrian (76-138). Eustace was invoked to keep peace in families affected by the Black Death.
10. Saint George (c. 275-303): the legendary dragon-slayer who was invoked to keep domestic animals, such as horses and cattle from becoming ill. Historians have established that the Black Death also affected animals.
11. Saint Giles (c. 650-c. 710): a hermit who became the patron saint of lepers. He was invoked to help the faithful make good Confessions.
12. Saint Margaret of Antioch (unknow-304): the daughter of a pagan priest. According to legend, she was swallowed by a dragon but escaped because of the cross she always carried with her. She was later martyred. Margaret was invoked to help mothers infected with the Black Death safely deliver their unborn children.
13. Saint Pataleon (c. 275-303): the personal physician of the emperor. Pataleon was violently martyred during the Diocletian Persecution. He was invoked to aid physicians.
14. Saint Vitus (c. 290-c. 303): martyred with two other saints during the Diocletian Persecution. Vitus was also invoked to protect domestic animals.
In 1445, a young Bavarian shepherd named Hermann Leicht found a crying child that suddenly disappeared when he tried to pick it up. Leicht saw the child two other times. During the third visit, it was accompanied by thirteen other children. They told Leicht that they were the Fourteen Holy Helpers and that they wanted a chapel to be built on the site where the child had first appeared.
The Basilika Vierzehnheiligen or the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers is located in Bad Staffelstein, Bavaria.
Sources: Butler’s Lives of the Saints