Monday, August 24, 2009
Funny, isn't it, that my last post was about laziness and I haven't answered any questions in almost a week? Was I lazy? I think, maybe, yes. Certainly my attention has been elsewhere with the impending return of Sister St. Aloysius and the exit of Sister Nicholas. I can't find the bottom of the desk. Actually, that isn't correct. I can't find the top of the desk. I don't dare say anything about the state of the desk top because if I do, Sister Nicholas will clean it before I have ended the sentence and I'll never find anything ever again.
School is about to start. We're gearing up the building, the desks, the hallways. We're having meetings and coffee and pastries. We're dotting our i's and crossing our t's.
So on Sunday, after Mass, I did a crossword puzzle, watched a Bette Davis movie called "The Old Maid" and suddenly remembered that someone had asked me this question:
I have a patron saint question for you: I've read of several female saints who wanted to remain single for Christ, but ended up getting married anyway (usually in obedience to their parents.) Are there any saints who had the opposite problem, i.e. they wanted to marry and teach their children to love God, but God never brought them a husband so they had to learn to accept this as His will for them? Thanks!
This a real poser. I have been digging and digging for the answer to this one. The official patron saint for spinsters and old maids is St. Catherine of Alexandria. But she does not fit your criteria. She wanted to remain single.
The problem here is that saints, being saints, don't complain. So we don't really know how many of them longed for a family they never had. They shut up about it. There really could be hundreds of them and we just don't know.
Then I remembered poor little Bernadette! St. Bernadette of Lourdes would have liked to just been a mother and a wife. But she realized that, what with Mary visiting her and all, it just wasn't in the cards for her. There always seems to me to be a great sadness hanging over Bernadette. The healing spring was "not for me." She was terribly sick all of her short life. She longed to see Mary again. She was endlessly harassed and disciplined by her superior in the convent. She died in agony. And she really did want to get married and have a family. At least she did before she was whisked off to the convent, a decision made for her by others that she accepted.
Sister, I've got a peculiar question: who declares that a particular saint is the patron saint of such-and-such? I ask because I'm a software engineer, and there is (in the lists I've seen) no patron saint of software engineers. (The closest is St. Isadore of Seville, but he's the patron saint of the Internet, which isn't the same thing.)
I'll have to know more about what a software engineer actually does to find you a patron saint. I only have a vague understanding of the work involved. But I can answer your question about who decides the official patronage of any given saint.
It wouldn't be an easy answer to find, ironically, if it weren't for St. Isidore and I don't mean because we can look the answer up on the internet (which we can!). It's because this information is rarely discussed. But because the Church was looking for a patron saint for the internet Wolf Blizter got to the bottom of the process. I'll let him tell you.
Take it away, Wolf.
And here is why St. Isidore was chosen (copied and pasted from some internet site. I've forgotten what it was or how I found it. The Google, to begin with most certainly.):
The Observation Service for the Internet, who drew it's mission from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, researched the Internet and related technologies to select a patron saint that best reflects the concerns and ideals of computer designers, programmers and users. The saint chosen by the Observation Service for Internet was Saint Isidore. "The saint who wrote the well-known 'Etymologies' (a type of dictionary), gave his work a structure akin to that of the database. He began a system of thought known today as 'flashes;' it is very modern, notwithstanding the fact it was discovered in the sixth century. Saint Isidore accomplished his work with great coherence: it is complete and its features are complementary in themselves.
I'm wondering if this doesn't cover your job as a software engineer, too. But you tell me.