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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Sometimes, I'm Sister Mary Annlanders. Regarding our last post:

Thanks, Sister Mary Martha-- this sort of question means a lot to me too, as my friends tend to engage in similar pestering (in my case, they don't seem to believe that the fact that I've reached the old age of 18 without having dated could possibly have been my idea. Sigh.)

While we're on the subject, any saint suggestions for avoiding unwanted male attentions? Despite various declarations that I'm not interested and a dedicated effort to not draw attention, several somewhat creepy guys at school have taken to being particularly friendly to me; the only reason I can think of is that I'm one of the very few single girls in the computer science major. Most of them don't really understand the concept of "personal space," either, despite repeated explanations, and while none of them have attempted anything, it's still somewhat distressing (it's a bit hard to concentrate on homework while someone's standing directly next to my chair, staring and asking after my health for the fifth time). Any patron saints for just wanting to be left alone?

You'll have your pick of fabulous patron saints! Just as you seem to have your pick of computer nerds.

You could try coughing violently into your hands and then wipe them on your skirt. That might get the germaphobe nerd to back away. You could draw a flesh eating virus on your arm using your make up. You can make a really good looking flesh eating virus with regular Elmer's glue and bits of Kleenex and any kind of sticky red liquid. You glue on a little bit of Kleenex and then put on a little red liquid and then tear at the Kleenex. You do this for several layers and that creates and open wound effect. I believe Alfred Hitchcock used chocolate syrup for blood, but then he was shooting in black and white.

How do I know these things?

Sister St. Aloysius and her Halloween costume prowess ran across the plan on the internets.

As to the patron saints, yesterday we mentioned good old St. Wilgefortis, who miraculously grew a beard to stave off unwanted advances. That's something you could draw on with a little eyebrow pencil, by the way. When I was a little girl, people used the burned end of a cork to make what looks like a five o'clock shadow, at least from a slight distance. You could just buy a fake beard.

They ask about your health, do they? Heathens! Doggerels! St. Lucy had an unwanted suitor who had admired her eyes, so she pulled them out and had them sent over. I don't suggest you follow her lead on that, but she might feel your pain.

I would also recommend poor little St. Rosalia. She really wanted to get away from everyone. She went to live in a cave. Then she changed caves without telling anyone. Moved with no forwarding address, as it were. Her new cave collapsed on her. By that time, it seems, everyone had forgotten about her and her poor old bones stayed buried for quite some time until some miners or some such persons happened upon them. It must have jogged everyone's memory about her, because they seemed to know right away whom they had found.

They took her back to town where a plague happened to be going on, speaking of flesh eating viruses. Everyone was cured of the plague and curing a whole town of the plague earned her sainthood.

Here she is depicted in art with some United Van Lines angels.


chicameeow said...

Hi Sister,

I'm a first-time writer, and I love your blog! Thank you for your entertaining and thoughtful posts :).

Sorry to bombard you with yet another saint request.. but I am in search of a confirmation name! I'm an adult (age 26), and I am about to become a fully-initiated member of the Catholic church this Easter. I am very excited about this, and I would like to find a good confirmation saint to guide me in my new life as a Catholic. I'm also engaged to be married, so I'm also in the marriage preparation process. Considering this, I would like to find a confirmation name of a married woman saint (and there seem to be very few of them!). Can you make some suggestions for me? Do you know of any woman saints who were converts to Catholicism?

Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

United Van Lines angels? I live in Alaska, Sister, and am totally uninformed on this one. How does a company get their own angels?

mps said...

Sister, I think you could do with putting up a warning about not reading this blog anywhere near meal times. The halloween page is revolting, as is the thought of someone plucking their eyes out. Really, could she not just have left town or avoided the admirer instead? I would suggest her as a saint for mentally disturbed people.

Robyn said...

To Chicameeow, for a married woman saint, you can't go wrong with St. Gianna Beretta Molla! She's one of my favorites.

But I am actually commenting for the computer science major with unwanted attention from gentlemen with poor social skills.

I know the type. In college I was stalked by such a person. It wasn't the kind of creepy-gonna-kill-you stalking of "normal" bad men, but a don't-understand-social-boundaries stalking of a, well, person like this. I think he figured it was quite rational that if he never gave me an opportunity to avoid him, then I would have to spend time with him, never realizing that the whole thing was TERRIFYING (whereas a "normal" bad stalker is TRYING to be terrifying).

Anyway, my point is that I understand how this sort of thing can make your skin crawl. Keeping that in mind...

Your, um, suitors sound a lot like my stalker in that they all probably suffer from a disorder like Asperger's syndrome. I'm not saying they DO have Asperger's or that everyone with Asperger's is like this. But there are many people who suffer from disorders on the "autism spectrum" similar to Asperger's who end up in "nerdy" fields like computer science or (in my guy's case) mathematics, and who are born without intuitively understanding concepts like personal space, or empathy. They mean no harm. They deserve some compassion.

Compassion does not mean you have to put up with any inappropriate behavior. You will probably have to be very direct, and probably over and over again. "You are standing too close to me. It makes me uncomfortable." "I'd like you to leave me alone now." Don't say it in a nasty way, but don't expect them to pick up on the social cues most people understand loud and clear, either.

That's how I finally solved my stalker problem. I sent him an email telling him he had freaked me out and he had to stay far away from me from now on. With a "normal" bad guy stalker, this would only have encouraged him, but with an Asperger's-like stalker, it worked perfectly. He had no bad intentions—he just really couldn't tell that I was freaked out!

Anonymous said...

St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton was a Protestant married woman who became a Catholic nun after she was widowed. She had a tremendous role in the beginnings of Catholic education in the United States and in care for the economically poor.

And I think St. Augustine's mother (presumably married) also is a saint although (shame!) the details elude me at the moment.

Welcome to the Church family!

Maggie said...

Congratulations and welcome home!! I'm a convert too, so I remember how exciting (and scary!) it can be to swim the Tiber. Prayers for you!
I love St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
(ahh you say, but she was a religious! Yes, I reply, but she was a married woman first, with five kids. And a convert to boot!)

Welcome home sister!!

The Marketing Team at Pauline Books and Media said...

Hi there!

I wanted to let you know about a new Catholic iPhone/iPod Touch app. I hope that this isn't considered "spam," and the app could CERTAINLY never replace you, but the Saint-a-Day App is now available! Users can search through the saints by their need (to find the right patron saint) or by name. They also receive a new saint biography each day, including a prayer to the saint. Anyway, if readers want to find out more, they can visit Pauline Books & Media, publishing house of the Daughters of St. Paul (the creators of the app) at http://pauline.org/Downloads/SaintaDayiPhoneApp/tabid/387/Default.aspx

Thanks Sister and keep up the great work!

Claudia's thoughts said...

Say "Go Away.."

Diane said...

Robyn - I'm glad you mentioned Aspergers. That's a very good point and highly likely.

theotherkid - What makes these guys creepy? If you're worried that they'll break the law, then stay away from them. But if it's that they seem so needy, then is it possible that you could do the most difficult thing and befriend them? I'm thinking that the poor, the homeless, the sick,the aged, etc., all seem pretty creepy sometimes, especially to young adults. Yet, we're called to care for them. So, could these guys possibly respect your boundaries (and you) better if they had your friendship? You could plan a group study session over coffee or play cards in the cafeteria and just be a friend once in a while.
I'm sure Sister Mary Martha can name a few examples of saints who discovered they were serving Jesus by caring for the most unloveable. Maybe you could actually grow to love them while growing where you're planted. just an idea . . . and maybe I'm sounding like somebody's mom. lol :)

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

St. Augustine's dear sainted mother (patron of mothers desperate for the conversion of their children, btw), was St. Monica.

theotherkid said...

Thanks, Sister, and everyone in the comments with suggestions.

To clarify, by "creepy" I mean a couple of things: 1) not realizing the "personal space" thing or that I can tell that they're not looking at my face or the code on my laptop, but areas in between, and 2) not realizing that making a lot of sexual jokes (in general, not about me, or I'd have done something serious about it) and mentioning things like "if they run out of hard drive space, deleting their porn will be a last resort" do say things about their character and creep me out. Neither sort of behavior started until I tried to befriend them earlier in the year (not within earshot for the second one, anyway)...

At first when it was just the space/turning up often issues I did think of Asperger's, but wasn't too sure because some of my friends have it in varying degrees and are generally pretty good with personal space and such. Then the other issues started.

Heather said...

@chicameeow & @anonymous - The mother of St. Augustine is St. Monica who is also the patroness of mothers of teenagers :)

There's also St. Helena - Constantine's mother. http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-helena/

I echo others when I say (one convert to another) welcome to the family!

Monica said...

OK, just a reminder you cant give friendship to a guy who wants more than that. THey don't want to be 'just friends'. it's all or nuthin', or they take any sign of what you think of as 'friendship' as 'interest' and misinterpret, and then you're in a big mess of mixed signals. I speak from experience. :(

I second the clarity talk - "you're invading my personal space" etc. Some of these people just didn't have mothers who would tell them stuff so they don't know what's socially acceptable. I've actually said to people "you need to learn to read people's body language. this means..." and they were grateful.

I vote for St. Monica too!!! (mother of Augustine)

Amelia said...

I'm also 18 and have problems with guys pestering me in college! I know what it's like when they just don't understand that you only want to date young men you'd consider for marriage and that maybe your not ready for a serious relationship just now. I figure that since St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost objects, I sometimes ask him to help the guys "get lost" ha!
I recommend joining the Catholic club, sometimes called the Newman club. All of the boys I've met there have been perfect gentlemen. Although I don't plan on dating any of them anytime soon, I've made true friendships in Christ. If I do decided to date one of them one day, we'll have a strong foundation to build a romantic relationship on.

You're not alone out there!

chicameeow said...

Hi everyone-- Thank you for the wonderful saint suggestions and for your kind words about my upcoming confirmation. It's such an exciting time!

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to read your replies until just now due to to the virus issue with the website! But, I did choose a confirmation saint-- Anne Line. She was a married convert (from Calvinism) from England. And, she was beatified on my birthday, so I thought she was appropriate! I will certainly expand my saint knowledge by reading up on everyone else that you have mentioned.

Have a wonderful and thoughtful holy week and Easter!