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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Kitty Korner

I hope I haven't confused anyone too terribly with my sense of humor. I was trying to indicate that the comments section was the place to leave questions, so I typed a little message. Only the first half of the message posted, the first half being a little joke about giving your "pop quiz" answer in feet.

The second half explained that the comments section is the place to leave questions and comments.

I suppose if you have to explain a joke, it isn't a very good joke. Perhaps it's actually too private a joke, too personal to me. As a child in school, the very idea of math problems caused my brain to freeze into a solid block, forcing tears out of my eyeballs. The questions always sounded like this to me:

One train is leaving New York at 9am moving 60 mph. Another train is leaving Kansas City at 11am travelling 70 mph. Each train has to make 7 stops along the route. The New York train takes 5 minutes extra to unload passengers at each stop and the train from Kansas City takes an extra 8 minutes, plus the engineer stops in St. Louis to visit his mother for 27 minutes while the passengers twiddle there thumbs and complain. The train from New York encounters a sleet storm that freezes the track and delays it for 92 minutes. The train from Kansas City gets stuck in a flood in Springfield, Ill and all the passengers take the opportunity to get off the train and visit the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln for 67 minutes. Both trains catch on fire at some point causing a delay of 12 minutes for the New York train and 17 minutes for the Kansas City train. The fire has ruined the coffee pot on the New York train and it makes an unscheduled stop so that six people can run out for Starbucks coffee and on the Kansas City train the conductor has been caught smoking a uncontrolled substance in the lavatory and the train has to stop for his arrest.

Which train will arrive first in Chicago?

Give your answer in feet.

I'll try again to indicate that the comments section is the place to leave questions. I have some great questions I'm excited to answer, but today we have a matter of some urgency:

Is this the comment place where you ask questions? I desperatly need to know if there is a patron saint for a lost cat. Her name is Magda and she has had quite a life with us but she is missing... Help--Help-- and many thanks Your blog is something else. Cant wait to read it everyday......

Is Magda named after St. Mary Magdalene? That would be a good place to start. We always encourage the faithful to name their children after a saint so that that child automatically has the patronage of that saint. It never occurred to me to do that same for a pet.

Why not? There are quite a few animal lovers in the Communion of Saints.

Your girl is St. Gertrude of Nevilles, the patron saint of cats and cat lovers. Once again, we have to extrapolate a bit to arrive at that patronage. She has zero to do with cats.

There are two St. Gertrudes. The other one is St. Gertrude the Great. Both of them had a devotion to the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

In our St. Gertrude's case, she envisioned mice to be the Poor Souls in Purgatory, come back to plead for help. Don't get upset. It's not reincarnation. It's a metaphor.

And who else likes mice? Cats.

The truth is Gertrude lived a pastoral life and probably had a few cats with her at the convent and out in the garden. She was an herbalist. She is depicted in one of two ways in art, either deep in prayer with a mouse running up her staff, or out in the garden collecting herbs surrounded by cats.

If for some reason that doesn't float your boat, you can go with St. Rock, the patron saint of dogs, Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha, the patron saint of turtles, St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animal lovers, St. Eligius, the patron saint of horses and cattle and St. George, the patron saint of sheep. They are the SPCA of Heaven.

St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost items. He is often on the back of a St. Francis of Assisi medal, I have noticed, which indicates to me that he will also be happy to help locate missing animals.


Dancing With Pussycats said...

Here is the address for a blog named Prayers for Our Pets. It's a wonderful site where you can post requests for lost or sick pets and the readers pray for them. There are answers of pets found and animals who got better. I posted a friends sick cat and she is doing a whole lot better. I'll pray you find Magda.

Dancing With Pussycats said...

Here is the address for a blog where you can post requests for prayers for lost or sick pets: http://prayersforourpets.blogspot.com/ There are lots of recovered pets and improved health stories too. I posted a friend's cat, who was sick with Lymphoma and Sissy is a whole lot better now. I will pray you find Magda soon.

Karen said...

Hi Sister Mary Martha,
I'm hoping you can help me out. Who is the patron saint of math, math homework, kids who don't want to do math homework, or parents who want to rip out their hair because of math homework? My daughter is only in third grade so I have a feeling we're going to need a saint to get us through years of math homework if I'm to survive with my sanity in tact.

mph said...

Hello Sister,
Sorry if this is a duplicate. I lost my internet connection last time and don't know if it got sent. You kindly found me a saint for vandalism\property damage. This time I would like to know who to ask to pray for the problem of general harrassment by not so nice young children (and the strength to control my urge to throttle them) please. Also, is there a saint for good parenting who can put in a word for their not so good parents. Thanks.

Kristi said...

Sister Mary,

Saint Agatha is the saint of the day. But, I wouldnt know that without my Saint of the day widget;)

I'm a convert so I always have weird questions. Its not about saints...but, I was hoping you might be able to help me out anyway.

My kids have those cheap plastic rosaries. I have a few that have broken. Now, if they were nice rosaries I know I could put them in a casket of a deceased Catholic. But, there is no way Im gonna ask someone to put these 50 cent rosaries in a coffin. (They have bite marks on them etc. I should be more diligent with teaching my kids respect for the rosary. But this is where we are.) Are there more appropriate ways to dispose of these? Or should I just throw them in the trash?

BTW--I do realize I could have avoided this whole situation by giving my children nice quality rosaries. I will be more mindful of that in the future.

Hope you are feeling better:)

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

Sister Mary Martha likes to suggest St. Therese of Liseaux for all those annoyed by the annoying habits of other people.

Martin said...

Don't forget St. Martin dePorres

Nun of a Kind! said...

I think that I saw three saints mentioned today, so I am assuming that they are all the "saints of the day", and because each would have two feet, the correct answer must be six feet. That answer must be worth a holy card or two!

Anonymous said...

Jesus and his disciples were walking around one day, when Jesus said,
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like 3x squared plus 8x minus 9."
The disciples looked very puzzled, and finally asked Peter, "What on earth
does Jesus mean - 'the Kingdom of Heaven is like 3x squared plus 8x minus 9?'"
Peter said, "Don't worry, guys. It's just another one of his parabolas."

Laura said...

I was just elected to a 3-year term on our church's vestry. I now find myself caught between 2 people who think I am on their "side". Honestly, I didn't realize there were sides! I am at peace with everyone in our (small) parish. One of the people is always telling me things about the others that I don't need to know and asking me to go to other members of the vestry and do something about her personal issues with certain other members and complaints about parishioners. I don't like gossip, and definitely don't want to "take up another's offense". I am about ready to resign already! Surely there must be quite a few Saints I could go to with all the personalities in our rich church history. Which is the best match? Thank you so very much.

Claudia's thoughts said...

Those math questions always sounded like that to me too, actually I had the hardest time with that, and I must add since I finished High School in 1964 I have NEVER had the occasion to use them.

"Dear St Anthony, come around, something's lost and must be found."

It always has worked for me' sometimes instantaneously I might add. Sometimes longer too.

I had the Lost Cat posters made up but not posted and the cat appeared. Never did figure out where she was hiding.

Diane said...

Anonymous - LOL - are you my dad? (sounds like one of his jokes, groan) I hope you don't mind if I borrow it. . .

Nun of a Kind - go to AmericanCatholic.org to get the saint of the day emailed to you. Not sure if there's a CanadianCatholic.org or if the saint of the day varies by country.

Anonymous said...


There is a woman I give them to at Randall Rosaries who will repair broken rosaries and give them to charity. Someone with no access to one may be very happy to get it. I don't know about the bite marks, though;)


Jerome said...

We've named our past few dogs using Saints names. On the day we get the dog we looked to see who's feast day it was and we named them based on that. So we've had Stephine(Steven), Francis, and our last dog is Angel because we didn't like the Saint names that day. Angel is no angel but he's a good dog.

Monica said...

I'm assuming Kateri will take care of our desert tortoises too. I'll tell my son!

Sr. Teresa said...

Ok I figured out the train question but I am in Canada so it came out in Old Testament temple measurements...is that close enough. LOVE THE BLOG and am thankful for the humor and the knowledge you impart!

Anonymous said...

For Kristi,
If the rosaries are blessed, then they must be buried, anywhere. If they aren't they can go in the trash.

Love Paullie

Diane said...

Laura - please don't resign. Maybe you're the person to pray for them. Don't be the 'go-to' person. Here's a prayer I got from the Poor Clares order which has helped me a lot.(I was the one with the problem) It's attributed to Mary Queen of Scots.

Keep me, O Lord, from all pettiness. Let me be large in thought word and deed. Let me leave off self-seeking and have done with fault-finding. Help me put away all pretense, that I may meet my neighbor face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice. May I never be hasty in my judgments, but generous to all and in all things. Make me grow calm, serene and gentle. Teach me to put into action my better impulses and make me straight-forward and unafraid. Grant that I may realize that it is the trifling things of life that create differences, that in the higher things we are all one. And, O Lord God, let me not forget to be kind!

Anonymous said...

There are two saints today so I suppose they had a total of four feet. Or did you want their height? That could be tough to determine.

St Jerome Emiliani (1486 - 1537)

St Josephine Bakhita (d. 1947)

info is from


click on About Today, at the top of the Today's Pages, left-hand column, to find the Saint of the Day and the prayers for Terce, Sext, and None.

Go back to the home page, look in About Today again and you'll find "Readings at Mass" for the day. There is also a Yearly Calendar, lots of things you can download to your computer or iPhone, lots of links, etc. Useful site!

Anonymous said...

Actually, though, Sister, you wrote this on February 4 and the yearly calendar at Universalis.com doesn't list a saint for February 4. Teachers and their trick questions!

Being a Monday, today is also dedicated to the Holy Ghost and the Souls in Purgatory.

Retired teacher and lover of "trick questions"

mph said...

Arkanabar - thanks for that.

Kristi said...

Thanks ladies:)