Friday, November 06, 2009
The Patron Saint of Paris Hilton
Just when you think something will be easy breezy lemon squeezy, it isn't. I really thought today's question from a reader would be a quick click on the internet to heavenly glory. No such luck.
If there was luck. I hope Catholics realize we don't believe in luck. Luck is off the list of things for which to wish.
I march on, undaunted.
What, if anything, is St. Agnes of Assisi (Clare's younger sister) the patron saint of? Pace e bene
Pace e bene to you to!
Sad news. She isn't the patron saint of anything. This is a real shame, in my opinion, because she was quite a pistol.
Let's go back for a moment and fill in the blanks about St. Agnes of Assisi. We never hear a peep about her, overshadowed as she is by her older sister St. Clare, founder of the Poor Clares (and the patron saint of needleworkers and television), and their loving mentor and guiding light, St. Francis of Assisi.
By the time Agnes, whose original name was Caterina, was 22, she was off traveling around Italy establishing Poor Clare convents. She was especially good at it, because she was a very kind person who had the ability to make the life style she was offering very attractive.
And that is remarkable, because it wasn't a very attractive lifestyle, as lifestyles go. The Poor Clares weren't really called the Poor Clares. That was not the name of their order. They got the nickname "Poor Clares" by the people who lived around them. What kind of impoverished lifestyle causes people who are dirt poor to call you 'the poor people'?
Whenever I read about St. Francis, St. Clare and little sister Agnes, I always feel something very important is lost in the telling.
These were rich kids. Really, really rich kids. St. Agnes grew up in her father's castle when she wasn't at the villa. When her older sister ran off to follow St. Francis, Agnes, then Caterina, ran off after her. Their father, who wasn't very pleased about Clare, completely blew his top and sent someone to go fetch her out of there.
He also sent several armed men in case Caterina didn't want to come.
She didn't want to come.
So they tried to remove her by force. A man who raised his sword against her lost the use of that arm for a while. Caterina, now Agnes, suddenly weighed a ton and no one could lift her. They dragged her away and beat her in the process but finally dumped her in a nearby field because they just couldn't get her any further, what with her weighing a ton and all.
She was 15 years old.
She spent her life founding Poor Clare convents until she was called back to Assisi to nurse her dying sister. St. Agnes died two months after the death of her sister, St. Clare. She was 56 years old.
What patronage should she have? I leave it up to you, dear readers.
I cast my vote for the patron saint of the hopelessly rich kids for whom there is always hope.