It's an exciting week in saints! The Pope just canonized a group that includes one of my favorite former "Blesseds", Brother Andre of Montreal.
To celebrate, we're still on the patron saint matching trail.
Hi Sister Mary Martha,
I was just wondering if there was a patron saint for childhood epilepsy. I know a child who struggles with epilepsy and could use a special friend. Thanks!
Oh yes, indeedy! You'll be surprised to know that the patron saint of lovers is also the patron saint of epilepsy, although no one is exactly sure why. It could be simply that St. Valentine's name sounds like the German word or phrase for "falling all the way down" and so he got the assignment.
It could be that he healed an epileptic.
But whatever the reason, we're not just whistlin' Dixie when we say that St. Valentine is associated with epileptics. In the 341 works of art throughout Europe that portray St. Valentine, almost half of them include an epileptic at his feet. This phenomenon was not lost on some epilepsy researchers who took the time to analyze what type of seizure the person with the saint is having and found the artworks to be very specific and accurate.
And of the 150 some odd paintings and statues and carvings 17 of the afflicted were infants, 35 were children and 7 were teenagers.
So it really looks like he's your man.
The tricky part is that we're not quite sure which man he is. There are several St. Valentines, two of them are the person we generally think of as St. Valentine, St. Valentine of Terni and St. Valentine of Rhaetia. They were both bishops and both martyrs. Their stories are both rather vague and they have been mixed up so many times we really don't know what's what and who's who with the the two of them anymore. So your little friend is just going to have to go with "St. Valentine" and let all the St. Valentine's in Heaven sort it out amongst themselves.
Which is lovely, really, when you think about it. A team of St. Valentines.
Meanwhile, I'm not sure my little pal St. Andre of Montreal has a patronage assignment. I vote for "acquiring real estate".