St. Andrew was the first Apostle called by Jesus. Before he came to follow Christ, he was a disciple of John the Baptist:
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
John 1:35-42, RSV
St. Andrew became a missionary, traveling through Asia Minor and Greece, and is believed to have evangelized the country of Georgia, as well as parts of modern-day Russia and Poland. He was martyred by being tied to an X-shaped cross, where he is said to have preached for two days before his death. St. Andrew is the patron of Scotland and Russia, as well as several other countries. His X-shaped cross adorns the flag of Scotland. He is also the patron of fishermen and women who wish to become mothers. His feast is celebrated on November 30.
St. Andrew’s feast day is the beginning of a popular extra-long novena, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena, ending on Christmas Eve. Those who practice this novena are to pray the following prayer for their intentions fifteen times a day from November 30 through December 24:
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires (mention your intentions here), through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
The St. Andrew Novena is a popular Advent practice. If it seems difficult to say a prayer fifteen times in a day, you may say it only once, or you may say it fifteen times, one after another—much shorter than a rosary! It doesn’t need to be repeated at different hours.
I love the story of St. Andrew, how he followed Jesus, recognizing that he was the Messiah, and brought his brother Simon to Christ as well. Simon became Peter, the Rock, and our first Pope. I am also attracted to St. Andrew because of his patronage of women who want to become mothers, as I do. I am praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena this Advent for my Advent Prayer Buddy.