Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Can you recommend a patron saint for potty-training? I need help!
I saw an episode of Dr. Phil. Sister Mary Fiacre was on a Dr. Phil kick for a while there. He used to come on just about the time I got home from school. I would fix her a snack. I think she liked the colors and the music. I'm not sure she actually followed what was going on.
I don't care much for programs like that. They make me feel as though I'm standing in some strangers' house while the couple is fighting and I'm just shifting my weight from one foot to the other, biting my lip and feeling embarrassed for them both. Other people's problems and shame are not entertainment, not bad singing on American Idol and not the Battling Bickersons.
What was I talking about?
Oh! Dr. Phil. He had a show on about his potty training method, which seemed to me would work. It basically involved having the child potty train a doll while you give the child hundreds of glasses of juice or water. The whole event is over in a couple of hours. I'm sure you can use the Google to find it on the internets.
Meanwhile, I would say that the patron saint for potty training would have to be Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Such a fine woman. Born before the Revolutionary War and the first American born saint. There are other "American" saints, like Mother Frances Cabrini and the North American Martyrs but they weren't born here. Mother Seton didn't even get her fingers chewed off by the Iroquois. Here's what happened.
Her first cross to bear was that she was Episcopalian, better known as "Catholic Lite". We know that the Episcopal Church is the American version of the Anglican Church of England. The Anglican Church of England is what happened when a certain king wanted a divorce and couldn't get the Pope to go along with it. Not only did said king actually kill wives that got in the way of his plans, he started his own church and made himself the head of it. He wasn't very clever, though, so his church is basically the Catholic Church with the parts he personally didn't like taken out.
So Elizabeth got married and had five children. They were well off, her husband's family was well off. Then everything went south. The business went belly up, her husband's parents died and left them seven more children to tend, her husband got really sick and died.
During all of this Elizabeth and her husband went to Italy for his health. It didn't work out, but the family that cared for them was so impressive (those Italians are CATHOLIC) that when Elizabeth got home she converted. Being Catholic in America back then was not a popular thing to be, or do. Elizabeth founded a school that closed because of anti-Catholic bigotry (as William Donahue had yet to be born). Elizabeth soldiered on, founding a religious order (the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's) and a home for widows and women with children who needed help and lots of other wonderful things. Her surviving daughters became nuns.
So why is she the patron saint of potty training?
Did I mention she had five children and then suddenly had to take on seven more? And that her husband was sick? Who do you think potty trained those kids?
She didn't have cute little potty chairs that play a tune when you use them or "Pull Ups" or "Good Nites". She didn't even have a toilet, if you'll excuse me. She would have either had a chamber pot or an out house.
I have been around potty training and I know that one of the hurdles can actually be that the child is afraid of falling in. How do you think that child might react to using an out house?
I think, not only would the child be terrified, but the truth is, the child actually could fall in and never be heard from again.
We do carry Saint Elizabeth Seton in the shop, although I'm not sure we have her in stock just now. In any case, I'm sure she can help you. It would be a snap for her.