Who was St Jude?
Saint Jude is one of the twelve apostles. Jude is generally thought to be the brother of another apostle, St. James, and the author of the Epistle of Jude in the New Testament.
Tradition has it that Jude preached the gospel with St Simon in Syria and Mesopotamia. He finally went to Persia where it is believed he was martyred with arrows or javelins, or on a cross.
There were communities who had Jude as their patron in the middle ages, but his popularity (and clear record of his history) suffered. The reason is simple enough - his name was too often confused with Judas Iscariot, Christ's betrayer. Because of this confusion, only the most desperate would pray that Jude intercede for them... hence by the 19th century he had became popularly known as the Patron of Desperate situations.
Very little is now known for certain about Saint Jude. That being said, St. Jude is looked to as a powerful reminder of Christ's faithfulness to us in all things. Even in the most difficult circumstances that life can present, St. Jude is seen as one who affirms for us that God is still present, still loving, still creating, still making all things new.
The boat, the symbol most often associated with Saint Jude, may also allude to Jude's earlier life, or to Jude's voyages in his part in the mission of founding the early church. The children have this logo on their school jumpers.