Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I'm trying to catch up on all the questions we've had recently. Forgive me for being so pokey with such urgent matters. To try to get the job done, I'm putting questions that are similar together. Today, two patron saint matchings.
Hello Sister! I know you love saint matchmaking, and I'm in need of your help! I really need a patron saint of feminism. You'll probably think it sounds easy, but I'm looking for a specific saint who fought for the rights of women(but I'm not talking about the radical feminism being delivered these days...all that sexual liberation rubbish and whatnot. I mean feminism the way JPII defines it). I know that the female doctors of the church were amazing, but I thought they only wrote on prayer and the church in general. Could you please help me? (Even better if the saint is male:) ) Happy New Year Sister!
Oh Posh. I've had it up to here with fighting other women about the proper role of women. Here's the way I see it. If there's a job to do, do it. If someone else is better at a job because they have stronger muscles, let them do it and go find something else worthwhile to do. If there is a paycheck involved, the job should pay the same thing to anyone who does it.
Do we ever hear about masculinists? No, we don't. That's because there was no need for anyone to point out that men are worthwhile in all their endeavors and that their thoughts are relevant. Obviously, that was not the case for women or they would never have been a movement called "feminism".
It's too bad that people had to be reminded about the importance and relevance of women. I can tell you that the world of women in which I grew up was quite different than the one in which I now live. I remember my mother watching game shows on TV, for example, and saying, "I think those women should let the men win." That sort of thinking was the tip of the iceberg. The big hunk of ice beneath were things like a man's legal right to beat his wife. Police actually responding to a 'domestic dispute' is a relatively recent phenomena.
I know we're all upset about the sexual revolution. There is an upside to it. Think of it this way. If the feminist movement was in part about a woman 'owning' her sexuality, a girl should be much less likely to be pressured into having sex to keep or please a man.
Here's a good read, by the way, to get a grip on seeing a job that needs doing and doing it. The book is called, "Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America" and is an amazing trip from Europe to America by young women who were sent alone into the wilderness (when it really was wilderness) to build schools and hospitals and orphanages from nothing. There is a very entertaining story about a nun who befriended Billy the Kid because she was the only person who would give medical attention to one of his buddies who had been shot. She saved the man's life. Billy the Kid visited her whenever he was in town and had his horse do tricks for her.
I'm not sure why you would especially want a male saint for this job. That has a little bit of a "nyah-nyah" tone.....We want the best saint for the job, the end, do we not? A good match, like picking a doctor. We simply want the best one for the problem.
I strongly suggest St. Catherine of Sienna, Doctor of the Church (one of three women to earn that title) who single handed, through her tireless writing, held the Church together during a dark time when we had two popes. One in France and one in Rome. She urged that someone step down. Finally, it was decided that neither man would be Pope and a third Pope was appointed. Still the other two popes remained. Three Popes. What a mess! She took a verbal ruler to the whole problem.
On top of that, St. Catherine was a wonderful teacher and a fantastically strong person. She accomplished all of that before the tender age of thirty three, because like Jesus, she was dead by then. Unlike Jesus, she did not rise from the dead. But she certainly earned a very special place in heaven, like all women who have to work for the salvation of their own souls while wrangling everyone else into some semblance of a path to salvation. As most women (and pastors) can tell you, it's like herding cats.
I also think St. Catherine is a wonderful patron saint for dieters, as she subsisted only on the Host a lot of the time. She also slept only three hours a night. Sound familiar anyone? She didn't even have an infant or a teething baby or a husband with a cold.
Here's a tough one:
On the No Question Left Behind blog we tackled a question on cutting and self harm. In response, someone emailed me and asked if there is a patron saint of self harm. One of the teen members of the blog suggested perhaps a saint who was into self mortification. I'm not so sure -- there is a difference between wearing a hair shirt to increase spirituality and a teen who suffers through cutting or bulimia. So, I come to you for your opinion. Teens these days really need patron saints! Thanks for all you do! www.noquestionleftbehind.blogspot.com
This is a tough one. It's my understanding that young people (the majority being girls) do this because they are punishing themselves and at the same time they are emotionally numb.
So I suggest, although I have to do some more thinking on this, St. Teresa of Avila, who was also a Doctor of the Church. Clearly these people need a doctor. But that's not why I suggest her.
St. Teresa always felt inadequate. She was wracked with guilt over what she perceived as her imperfections, which often were very simple things like enjoying a bottle of perfume. And romance novels. She really liked romance novels and felt terrible about it. She didn't cut herself. But she did have visions of where, exactly, she would end up, which was under a staircase in hell. She didn't even merit a room in hell. She had to sit under the stairs.
Which brings to mind the other St. Teresa....well, not technically a saint yet...Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who suffered her dark night of the soul most of her working life. It's a big problem.
Maybe it calls for two Teresas.