Seven Patron Saints to Help You Overcome Porn and Sexual Addiction

Often, we may plateau on our recovery journey. This is when we experience renewed temptations because we have grown in positive habits and acquired new tools but have not yet conquered our pride. Pride is, in truth, the biggest stumbling block for addicts. This is just as true at the start of our recovery as it is during the many seasons later in our journey.

We may start experiencing temptations to act out and suffer new surges of lustful desires. While we should always continue to frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation and receive the Eucharist, we may still be struggling. 

If so, we can turn to the saints to intercede for us. This has certainly helped me. I have previously mentioned how a specific novena to Mary has been most helpful to me, as well as praying to my patron Saint Jude and Saint Joseph.

As Saint Augustine wrote, “there is no saint without a past, and no sinner without a future.” With that in mind, I would like to introduce seven saints who can intercede on our behalf when we are attacked by lustful desires during our recovery from sexual addictions like pornography and masturbation. 

Saint Mary of Egypt

I want to start with a saint who is an example of encouragement to those who feel damaged. While she might not be well known in the Western church, she is one of the most revered and beloved saints in the Orthodox Church for her model of repentance.

Saint Mary of Egypt had a sexual past that started at the young age of twelve and continued for 17 years. She eventually repented through the Virgin Mary and led the rest of her life in a penitential manner. She gained mastery over her passions, was clothed with heavenly virtues, given innumerable divine gifts, and truly is living proof that God can fully restore what appears to be wrecked. 

She is a great saint to know and ask for help precisely because of her long struggle with purity. Today, many struggling addicts and those recovering from porn and masturbation started at a young age just like she did. Mary of Egypt is a relatable saint that we can surely turn to in every season of our recovery from pornography and other sexual addictions.

Saint Mary of Egypt, pray for us!

Saint Augustine

Next is a saint that arguably every Christian knows of. His autobiography is often cited and his writings have shaped Christianity. They continue to hold contemporary relevance precisely because of the power and effectiveness of his writing. Saint Augustine is well known in both the West and East. As a doctor of the Church, his writings offer us a deeper understanding of Christ and Church doctrine.

However, it is the young Augustine that we may turn to as an example of unrestrained passions as he became a slave to lust. He wrote in his autobiographical Confessions the following about his struggles:

“…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.” 

His brilliant mind became so fogged that the murk of lust was indistinguishable from the pure light of love. Those of us familiar with the neuroscience of sexual addictions and porn recovery can relate to this mental fogginess, objectification, and blindness to pure love. That is why Augustine is a great saint for us to pray to. Similar to Saint Mary of Egypt, he is both relatable in his struggle and a model for recovery from sexual addictions.

Saint Augustine, pray for us!

Saint John the Long-Suffering

There is another saint from the East that most of us can relate to. From his youth, John was tormented by sexual desires. He tried ascetical practices but often his passions were stronger. He chose to become a recluse but nevertheless continued to struggle a great deal with lust and Satan tried very hard to shake him of his determination. 

Throughout his life, he struggled against lust and temptations which is why he is called Saint John the Long-Suffering. Beautifully enough, after thirty years of struggling, he encountered the merciful love of Christ. In his cave, tormented by Satan and a serpent that seized John’s head in its jaws, he cried out from the depths of his heart: 

“O Lord my God and my Savior! Why have You forsaken me? Have mercy upon me, only Lover of Mankind; deliver me from my foul iniquity, so that I am not trapped in the snares of the Evil one. Deliver me from the mouth of my enemy: send down a flash of lightning and drive it away.” 

Suddenly a bolt of lightning flashed and the serpent vanished. Divine light shone upon John, and a Voice was heard: 

“John! Here is help for you. Be attentive from now on, that nothing worse will happen to you, and that you do not suffer in the age to come.” 

The saint prostrated himself and said: 

“Lord! Why did You leave me for so long in torment?” 

“I tried you according to the power of your endurance,” the voice said. “I brought upon you temptation, so that you might be purified like gold. It is to the strong and powerful servants that a master assigns the heavy work.”

What a saint to remember in our time of temptation!

Saint John Long-Suffering, pray for us!

Saints Justina, Philomena, and Agnes

For many of us—especially in later seasons of recovery—what we often need most is fortitude. Fortunately, we may call upon Saints Justina, Philomena, and Agnes for aid. 

A convert to Christianity, Justina dedicated herself to Christ, refusing a marriage proposal from a suitor. When, through the power of the sorcerer Cyprian, Justina was tempted by multiple demons during her prayers to lustfully desire the suitor she had just rejected, she offered up prayers and was delivered from temptation and evil.

Philomena and Agnes also both refused suitors and were martyred virgins. The saints’ dedication to purity and willingness to suffer martydome can be an inspiration for those of us today to live lives of sexual purity.

Saints Justina, Philomena, and Agnes, pray for us!

Saint Augustine early in his recovery studied philosophy and was influenced by Cicero who wrote, “if man has a soul, as the greatest philosophers maintain, and if that soul is immortal and divine, then it must necessarily be that the more it has been steeped in reason, and true love, and the pursuit of truth, and the less it has been stained by vice and passion, so much the more surely it will rise above this earth and ascend into the heavens.” 

While this affected Augustine deeply (and is no doubt a great truth!), it was the exhortation of Saint Paul that set Augustine free. Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Romans: 

“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” (Romans 13:13-14). 

Saint Paul, pray for us!

All seven of the saints described above can offer us aid—whether we are a spouse, single person, or religious. We know only too well how sexual addictions and lust can harm marriages, families, and friendships. That’s why we need to guard our hearts against impurity, be attentive to our thoughts, and take custody of our eyes. Thankfully, we do not have to do it alone. We can rely on the above saints—and many others—to protect, guide, and intercede for us.

Aaron Walter is a lifelong Catholic and former porn addict whose ministry, NewMenRising, is dedicated to pornography addiction recovery. He is a coach, mentor, and accountability partner and is passionate about helping husbands kick their addiction and transform their lives and relationships. You can connect with him at calendly.com/aaronwaltercoachingsessions.

Chris
Author: Chris