God Bless You -Do You Know The Origin Of This Phrase?

September 10, 2020 by

Given the current Covid – 19 Pandemic, there is heck of a lot more sneezing going on.  As a result, there are many more “God Bless You” prayers/blessings being said.


The origin of this phrase is more than a bit fascinating.


The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality, Bubonic Plaque, or The Plague) was the deadliest pandemic recorded in human history.


One of the symptoms of the plague was coughing and sneezing, and it is believed that Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) suggested saying “God bless you” after a person sneezed in hopes that this prayer would protect them from an otherwise certain death.


The Good News:


The Black Death resulted in the deaths of up to 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.1  As of September 6, 2020, the Covid – 19 Pandemic has resulted in 885,935 deaths.2   As sad as it is to learn of the continual Covid – 19 deaths around the world, the reality is that things could be far worse.


Try to be:  thankful, safe, and please practice the “Four Ws” to curb the spread of the virus:


  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Watch your social distancing.
  3. Wash your hands.
  4. Walk.


The latter “W,” is my favorite of the four.  Many studies have shown that walking not only improves one’s physical health, but also one’s mental health, during this Pandemic.


Stay safe and,


God bless you.



  • Wikipedia, 2020.
  • Worldometer, September 6, 2020.


Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For five years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017.

Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building a Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.

Email: kevin@kevinsheridanllc.com