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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Saints for Modern Times


My favorite hobby is patron saint matching. I was thrilled to stumble across my new saint matching icon there on the bottom left! I'm sorry it doesn't fit on there. I hope you can still use it. On most screens, I think, you can still see a tiny bit of the yellow box you click to hit "GO" to find your saint. Click on that tiny bit of yellow to use the patron saint matching engine. The other day I was on a laptop and the yellow box is was not visible at all. So sorry. It's summer, so the eighth grade boys are more difficult to locate. Maybe they can fix it. They fix everything on my computer.

Of course, that saint matching icon is pretty cut and dry. It's the official list. When I do my own saint matching, I only start with that list. After that, I delve into how the saint's life mirrors your own. For example, I recently made a dieter's charm bracelet. I put St. Catherine of Sienna on there, as she survived only on the Host, St. Thomas Aquinas because he is so famously fat that priests will often use him as a analogy, as in "as fat as Thomas Aquinas, St. Martha, the patron saint of cooks (because you have to watch what you eat and really successful dieters like Oprah have their own cooks), St. Lawrence, who was roasted to death, St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of the stomach.

St. Charles Borromeo would make a good patron saint for mothers, too. There is no mention of stomachs in his story, as I recall. Instead, his story involves disciplining an unruly bunch of monks who hated him for it. Did I say hated? They tried to kill him. They missed. I surmise that being so disliked by everyone around you might give you ulcers and IBS and that's how he wound up being that patron saint of stomachs. His name is easy to remember, too, because it sounds like Bromo (seltzer).

Anyhow, don't you think he would make a good patron saint for mothers? Maybe your children don't actually hate you (and least they won't in another hour when it all blows over) and let's hope they are not trying to kill you, even though it may seem that way. But St. Charles Borromeo certainly feels your pain, wouldn't you think?

There is actually a patron saint for mothers with nasty, terrible children. I forget who it is just now....I'll have to use that icon. It's a female saint and I think her children did try to kill her. Not St. Menendez. I'll get back to you on that.

St. Charles Borromeo could just as easily be the patron saint of people who are frustrated that everyone always gets their name wrong, as his name was actually "Carlo".

Which brings me to these follow up comments from readers:

By the age of 8 my daughter knew she wanted to be a vet. We lived the rural life and had a lot of animals so this was natural for her. She is now entering her junior year of college as a pre-vet student. She has tunnel vision in this. She recently met a young man and before agreeing to date him said nothing is going to stop her from being a vet. My point is, 7 isn't too young to have a direction.

Also:

As a six-year-old, I wanted to be a teacher and guess what? More than fifty years later, I'm a teacher. Also, I think that technically, a "nun" is cloistered. A "sister" may or may not wear a habit, but is not cloistered. Am I right, Sr. Mary Martha?

True enough. There are people who find there way at an early age. There are people who find their way much later.

I have a patron saint for both!

Finding your way at an early age: Blessed Imelda. It's a good thing for her that she did find her way at an early age, because she never made it to anything else. Little Imelda left for the convent at age eight! She lived for the day when she could receive the Holy Eucharist. She said something to the effect, "How could anyone receive Jesus that way and not die?" Back then, people did not start receiving the Eucharist until age 12. When she was eleven the host appeared above Little Imelda's head, there in the convent chapel. Everyone saw it, so they rushed over, got the priest and gave her her first Holy Communion right there on the spot, at which point Imelda fell over dead.

Officially, her patronage is the Holy Eucharist.

St. John of God's official patronage is nursing and booksellers. I think he's a good candidate for people who take a long time to find their way. St. John of God banged around for years doing every crazy thing he could think of, including selling holy cards and religious books, even though he was about as religious as Frank Zappa. He finally went off the deep end altogether and ended up in the looney bin. He came out a saint.

Well...saintly. He came out of the looney bin alive and you can't be a saint until you are dead.

As for being a "nun" or a "sister"...no, you are not correct there. All nuns are sisters (you would address a nun as "Sister"), but not all sisters are nuns. It's all in the vows.

The patron saint of vets, by the way, is St. Martin de Porres. I think he makes a great patron saint for those people who are obsessed with Star Trek.

34 comments:

bill7tx said...

I have another patron Blessed you can add to your list: BLESSED MARGARET OF CASTELLO, the patron of the unwanted. Her story will make you cry. The fact that there are still people as unwanted and treated as badly and abandoned will make you cry even more.

goatgirl said...

Sister Mary Martha, I am enjoying your blog very much. My son graduated this year from Loyola Marymount University and has met a wonderful Catholic girl so I am trying to learn more about her faith. You are really very funny and your blog is entertaining. I am going to check back nightly for my lesson. Thanks.

Mary said...

St Jeanne de Chantal is the patroness for mothers of children who were difficult. Her ruly, stubborn son tried to stop her from entering religious life.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister Mary Martha,
Since I found your blog, I haven't missed a post, I enjoy it very much.
I have a patron saint matching question, if you don't mind another one! (I'd also appreciate prayers) My husband wants to start his own business in the health care field, and is going through a wait from the bank regarding a loan---it has to be backed up by the govt's SBA program. Who do you suggest as a patron saint?
Thank you for your time.

Sister Mary Martha said...

For Financial Stability, the Infant of Prague:
http://asksistermarymartha.blogspot.com/2006/08/infant-of-prague.html

Anonymous said...

Thank you sister, I really appreciate your taking the time to respond. I will read up and learn more. Have a great weekend.

Sister Mary Martha said...

There IS a St. Damien. He was the twin of St. Cosmos and he was doctor. Since doctors back then were also barbers, he is also the patron saint of hairdressers.

You may have missed him because, on the count of the twin factor, he is always referred to with his brother's name first, like they are a set: St. Cosmos and Damien.

Anonymous said...

Sister, I do truly enjoy your blog. Although I'm not Catholic, I like the idea of having a patron saint. I'm a photographer, and I'd gladly add a medal to the strap of my camera if you could tell me which saint looks after snap-happy people.

Sister Mary Martha said...

I think you will find your official patron saint a bit problematic. It is St. Veronica.

In the stations of the Cross, as we follow Jesus to Calvary, one of our stops is "Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus". The problem is there is no such incident in the New Testament. There has always been a legend that there is some sort of cloth...like the Shroud of Turin...that has the face of Jesus on it. Veronica simple means true (vera) icon or picture. There really is no St. Veronica. There are OTHER St. Veronica's however, but they are not the patron saints of photography.

Your next best bet is St. Luke, the patron saint of artists, since before photography, painters were our only hope of recording images.

There is a problem here, too, I'm afraid, there is absolutely no actual evidence (again, just a legend) that St. Luke was a painter.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Sister - my photos are occasionally problematic, too...

The St. Veronica legend is lovely, and I've always been fond of St. Luke.

Thanks so much for your prompt reply.

Anonymous said...

When all seems lost - my marriage, my interests, my self, my hope, even prayer - who can I go to? I feel like I was emptied of everything during one horrible day. None of my own inner resources are available to me.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Our Lady of Perpetual Help:
http://asksistermarymartha.blogspot.com/2008/04/memorare.html

Anonymous said...

Your suggestion, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, brought me to a much needed flood of tears. Anger, pain, confusion, fear are lessened by the flood. Thank you, Sister.

RadioPie said...

Who would be the patron saint of finding a job? St. Joseph is the patron of workers, so would it be him, or is there someone more specific? ie. Patron of the Unemployed who don't want to be unemployed anymore.

I guess the Infant of Prague would help...

Sister Mary Martha said...

For finding a job...not a saint yet but...I would go with Pope John Paul II. Talk about a person who held a job for a long time! AND a job he loved!

Cecilia said...

Sister Mary Martha,

I am a regular reader. I enjoy your blog immensely.

I have nominated you for the Arte Y Pico award. You may find details at my blog, http://ceciliainthecloset.blogspot.com.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Thank you! I can't seem to get to your blog, though.

Anonymous said...

In an effort to help...

I highlighted Cecelia's site name--
Copied it to memory (CTRL + C)--
Moved the cursor to the 'address' space at the top of my internet explorer screen--
And Pasted the site name onto that space (CTRL + V)--
Hit enter--
And got into the website just fine.
Be sure not to capture the period (.) at the end of Cecelia's. sentence.

From someone who you helped.

Cecilia said...

Huh! The name is "Closeted Pastor." If you google that name, I'm the first item to come up.

Pax,

C.

FranIAm said...

Hi - how do I not know you already????

Thank God Cecilia nominated you for that award or else I might have never found you.

Manna from heaven, I can see. A dieter's bracelet with those charms? Sweet Jesus take me home, I can go now after seeing that. (ok I am not quite ready, but if you insist...)

Elena Repka said...

Hey Sister, all this saint talk makes me very excited about the news that soon-to-be saints, Therese of Lisieux's parents, are to be canonized on October 19th - 150th anniversary of their wedding. Cool eh? :-)

Elena Repka said...

PS - Do you have a patron saint/bracelet for teachers? Couldn't find anything on Etsy. Thanks!

Dan L. said...

My next door neighbor, believe it or not, is a Zappa, from Frank Zappa's family.

They are not like him, and her (she is the Zappa) husband says he threw Frank out of his house on two occasions! (a previous home than next to me).

--Dan L.

JoannaB said...

Hello Sister, would St John of God be a good Saint for me. I am 51 and still have not found 'my way' in life and ministry. I can't be a nun because I am married with 3 children. And I have never seemed to find my 'vocation'.

zevo hussein calamari said...

Who would be the patron saint of veterinary acupuncturists if they are not vets?

By the way... Frank Zappa was a genius no matter what his religion!

Anonymous said...

JOANNAB, your 'way' and 'vocation' is that of wife and mother, and your 'ministry' is your husband and your children, my dear. Can you recognize one another? How they must need you and you, them. I pray for you, and I do, the patronage of any and all saints known for clarity of vision. It will help if you are willing to be cognizant of and grateful for your lot in life - clarity of vision will follow. Affectionately, Anonymous

JoannaB said...

Thank you anonynous; I always need all the prayer I can get and absolutely about my family and my beautiful grandson too and my sisters and their families! My favourite book is about Saint Gianna Molla, wife, mother and doctor and my own Saint is Saint Jane Frances de Chantel. I think it is possible to combine the vocation of Motherhood with a calling from God or work of another kind, besides at the moment I have to work at least part time, so I would like God to use me in that area too. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Dear Joannab,

Oh! How I DO know how we need to pray for our loved ones! For their benefit... and also for our OWN benefit and spiritual fitness.

Gratitude first, though, and Quiet second, in preparation to work for our Lord.

I haven't read Saint Gianna Molla's book. Thank you for the recommendation.

Another thought: Not only is it possible to combine the vocation of Motherhood with a calling from God - Motherhood is the highest calling of God. Think about it. NO! DON'T think about it. Just open up to God's discourse on the subject.

As for work, the people around you may very well be who need your example and ministry as well, as lofty or as humble as that work may be. Keep your aspirations within the confines of your real life, not outside those confines. God will use you, that's a cinch.

Be sure to listen and not talk - other than to ask how He can use you. Be sure to listen.

Again, affectionately - I really care about these ideas on behalf of you and on behalf of our Lord - Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,

For the record . . . . some nuns are not called 'sister,' but 'mother.'
This is the case even if they are not the superior.

Martin said...

Ahhh, St. Martin dePorres. I pray to him every day and, as a vet, I need him.

Anonymous said...

Hello sister,
i have an essay i have to write and it has to be on a modern-day prophet, and i have no clue what to write about and who to write about could you possibly give me a modern-day prophet to write about?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister. Would you know of a patron saint for chiropractors or accupunturists?

Can't seem to find any mention of this

Anonymous said...

I also would like to know the Patron Saint of Chiropractors...

andi said...

RadioPie :Patron Saint of Job Seekers could be Saint Cajetan who is officially listed as the Patron of the Unemployed. ( I am saying a Novena to him now as I am approaching 4 years of being unemployed) http://stcajetanscorner.blogspot.com/2011/01/novena-to-st-cajetan-patron-of-job.html

I hope the good Sister does not mind me posting this.

I, to am looking for a Patron Saint, that is I found this blog.
I am single, in my 50's and have a passion for learning, have trouble forgiving ( and this bothers me) love music and am taking violin lessons, am seeking a job that I can live on and support my mom on with some luxuries ( her art- my music)and be there for her as she ages.
Please Pray that a Saint reveals themselves to me and that I find such a job soon. Thanks