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.
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.