Saint Blaise of Sebaste
February is often a time marked by colds, throat infections, and respiratory illness. The patron saint of throat cures is Saint Blaise. Today, many Catholics don't know of him, but in the medieval era he was arguably one of the most popular saints of Christendom. By the eleventh century, there were 35 churches in Rome dedicated to Saint Blaise! In thirteenth century England, February 3 (the feast of Saint Blaise) was a national holiday on which all work was banned.
My wife and I named our most recent child "Blaise" after Saint Blaise. We often get comments because people think that we named him "Blaze," as in a burning fire. So I'm on a crusade to promote Saint Blaise. Here's his biography:
Saint Blaise was an Armenian physician who as elected as bishop of Sebaste (modern day Sivas, Turkey). He refused to deny Christ and so he was beaten, scraped with iron carding combs, and finally beheaded in AD 317. He is celebrated as a martyr and bishop on February 3 every year.
Saint Blaise is often depicted with the instruments of his martyrdom, steel combs. He thereby gained the patronage of wool combers and became very popular among English wool traders. Saint Blaise also cured a boy who was dying of a fish-bone stuck in his throat. Blaise is therefore the patron of throats, as well. Traditionally, priests bless the throats of Catholics on his feast day after Holy Mass (Father Simon is doing so today at the College of Saint Thomas More. If you are in Fort Worth, Texas, please join us).
Also, in my new novel about Saint George Kill This Dragon, Saint Blaise plays an important role (but I won't give it away yet).