In 1547, Gaetano dei Conti di Thiene, a Catholic priest who helped found the Order of the Theatines, passed away in Naples, Italy, at the age of 66. Sixty-two years later, he was sainted in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope Urban VIII. Thirty-two years after that, in 1671, he was canonized by Pope Clement X.
Today, Gaetano is celebrated as St. Cajetan of Thiene and, in Argentina, as San Cayetano — the patron saint of gamblers, workers, and the unemployed.
Every August 7, thousands of believers make the pilgrimage to Santuario de San Cayetano (Sanctuary of San Cayetano) in the Liniers neighborhood of Buenos Aires to pay their respects. San Cayetano is believed to provide bread and work, so it follows that he may be in high demand this year. Argentina is currently in the throes of an economic crisis that has seen annual inflation climb over 100% and poverty top 40%, respectively.
“Walking around this neighborhood, there are many people who have come from other parts of the country to ask for work,” retiree Juan Mura told Reuters. “People are asking a saint because they can’t ask the politicians. I would like the politicians to come here and see the reality of the people.”
According to the sanctuary’s website, visitors are encouraged to make three separate prayers to San Cayetano, the first of which can be found below.
¡Oh glorioso San Cayetano! Aclamado por todas las Naciones; Padre de Providencia, porque con portentosos milagros socorres a cuantos te invocan con fe en sus necesidades. Te suplico me obtengas del Señor oportuno Socorro en las angustias presentes y sea ello prueba de la bienaventuranza eterna. Amén.
(Oh glorious San Cayetano! Acclaimed by all Nations, Father of Providence, who answers with your portentous miracles those believers who call on you in their need. I beg you to obtain from the Lord Help with my present troubles and that it be proof of eternal blessedness. Amen.)
Santísima Trinidad ¡Oh Divina Providencia! Concédeme tu clemencia, por tu infinita bondad, arrodillado a tus plantas, a Ti portento de toda caridad, te pido por los míos casa, vestido y sustento.
(Holy Trinity. Oh, Divine Providence! Grant me your clemency, for your infinite goodness, kneeling at your plants, to You portent of charity, I ask for mine shelter, clothing and sustenance.)
Concédenos la salud, llévanos por buen camino, que sea siempre la virtud que guie nuestro destino. Tú eres toda mi esperanza, eres el consuelo mío, en Ti creo, en Ti confío. Tu Divina Providencia se extienda a cada momento para que nunca nos falte casa, vestido, sustento y los Santos Sacramentos en el último momento.
(Grant us health, take us on the right path, may it always be virtue that guides our destiny. You are all my hope, you are all my comfort, I believe in You, I trust in You. Your Divine Presence is extended at each moment so that we never lack shelter, clothing, sustenance and the Holy Sacraments in the final moment.)
During his career in the clergy, Gaetano played a pivotal role in Catholic Counter-Reformation — a resurgent period for the church that ran from the early sixteenth to mid-seventeenth centuries. In addition to co-founding the Order of the Theatines, he helped construct a hospital for the terminally ill and revitalized oratories in the Italian cities of Vicenza, Veron, and Venice. Prior to that, Gaetano received his doctorate in civil and canon law in the city of Padua.
Gaetano is said to have declared that “God has called on me to do a great work” before accompanying Pope Julius II in Rome. The thousands of annual visitors to the Sanctuary of San Cayetano are a testament to his efforts on behalf of the downtrodden.
With information from Reuters