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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off

Hello Sister. Is there a patron saint to help me get over a man?

Of course there is.

There is also time, keeping busy and the Corporal Works of Mercy, although you might want to skip "Bury the Dead" unless you sing in the church choir for funerals.

But patron saints always abound. 

Let me digress for a moment and mention that I always get help from saints. Where I'm sometimes not sure if my own prayers have been answered (given that it's sometimes not the answer we want or like or even notice), I am always sure of the thump of aide landing at my feet when I ask a saint to pray for me.

Now, you may recall that I have in the past asked you all to pray at a specific time for some reason, so that we are praying together. And I have the same thump of an answer from that. So, I have to wonder, if once I ask a saint to pray for me, if that saint hasn't gone around to his saintly pals in Heaven and done something like that.

Maybe it's silly of me. But I do think about things like that.

I also think about this type of thing. (Of course it was the graphic that drew my attention.)

There. I've finished digressing.

Onto your patron saints!

Let's start with St. Helena, who I think of as the patron saint of dump--ees.  St. Helena was colossally dumped by her husband the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Happily for her, she had a son. When her husband dumped her for the younger trophy wife model, she went sadly away.

But when her ex went to where the woodbine twineth, Helena's son rose to the throne. From that point on, she lived a life of which women today would be envious. While her son Constantine established Christianity as the religion of most of the known world, she traveled freely and became an archaeologist (if by "archaeologist" you mean someone who finds major relics by being shown where to dig in dreams).  She discovered the true relics of the Cross, the nails, the scrounging post, etc.  Did she come up with Jesus' birthplace? I think so. I'l have to look that up.

So, while she feels your pain, she also sees how great life can turn out once you get past it.

Then I might also recommend St. Rita who, after a rather unhappy marriage, was able to finally requite her one true love and get married. To Jesus.   It's what she had always wanted in the first place. 

I wonder which patron saint these women might have turned to?  St. Helena was around before the whole idea of patron saintage was really going strong.  But St. Rita may have had some saints she felt comfortable calling on for help.  I'll bet it was maybe a virgin martyr or two. St. Cecilia, perhaps, or St. Agnes or Lucy.  

None of these women had life of moonbeams and stardust. But they found great joy and fulfillment in their lives, which is what we hope for you.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hidelfont of Bengal Baden

In real life, I have a problem remembering names. Not a normal one. I'm really good at remembering names. Once I know your name, I'll never forget it. My problem is that I don't always get the name right in the first place, or pronounce it correctly, and once that happens, I will always remember what I think is your name. If your name is Margo, but I heard it wrong, I'll never be able to remember that you're not Margie. One poor lady I met, because I saw her name in print before I met her, will forever be Marcia (Mar-SEE-ah) to me. Her name is Marsha. But she spells it Marcia. Because I made this mistake early on in my relationship with her, I never trust myself to say the right name. I always wait for someone else to say her name first.

Happily for me, I tend not to do this with saints. Except for two. St. John of the Cross and St. Hildegard of wherever she is from. I always say John of the Cross when I mean St. Joseph Cupertino. I confused them once and it stuck.

And poor St. Hildegard. I have butchered her name six ways to Sunday. I have to stop myself from calling her St. Hilgefort, because I thought that was her name. And when it comes to her place of residence, forget it. I may as well just make up a name that starts with a "B" and be done with it.

Which is, apparently, exactly what I did.

Wasn't St. Hildegarde of Bingen, not Bergen? :-) 

Sideways smiley face, indeed.

I suppose there are worse mistakes one could make. Although there are few more humiliating moments that confidently calling someone you've known forever by the wrong name. At least I'm on the elderly side and am therefore often let off the hook. It's the one upside to being older. But the truth is, I've always done this, to my chagrin.

I brought it up to a friend recently and he rattled off a list of the hilarious things his Dad cluelessly gets wrong. 

"the DMV (department of motor vehicles), he calls the D and V"

"Immodium AD he calls Ammonia AD"

"he calls the Heimlich maneuver the Heimlich remover" (which is kind of what happens, really)

"Alzheimers is oldtimers" (understandable mistake)

"and he calls an out house and owl house"

 Like him, I believe I have the right name. Once in a while, someone is kind enough to correct me. It doesn't really help though, because going forward I second guess myself over which name is correct and if I got the correction right.

Thanks for the correction, dear reader. Upright smiley face.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Bushel and a Peck and a Hug Around the Neck

 I, too, am looking for a Patron Saint, that is I found this blog. I am single, in my 50's and have a passion for learning, have trouble forgiving (and this bothers me) love music and am taking violin lessons, am seeking a job that I can live on and support my mom on with some luxuries (her art- my music) and be there for her as she ages. Please Pray that a Saint reveals themselves to me and that I find such a job soon.

That's a lotta patronage needs there. Is there a one stop shopping saint for you?  I think so.

Or you can turn to a pack of saints. For example:

St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Albert the Great for a love of learning.  Albert the Great was particularly great in terms of a passion for learning..

The patron saint of music is St. Cecilia, although she has never really been my pick, since she actually had nothing to do with music. Better she would be the patron saint of indoor plumbing and chastity.

I've always thought that Pope John Paul II would make a great patron saint for job seekers, as he had a job he loved for a very long time. St. John of God is another interesting choice. He was a jack of all trades, master of none type until he found his true calling.

And for living to a ripe old age and having a fine life of it at that, St. Raymond of Pinafort lived to be one hundred. He was very busy the whole time being a saint.

I'm sure this group would pitch in and pray for you.

But if you're looking for just one saint to cover all your patron saintly needs, may I suggest St. Hildegarde of Bergen. She is quite the learned, learning loving, musically gifted, disciplined to the point of finger wagging woman the Church has seen for a while. So much so that she became the fourth woman to be named a Doctor of the Church.

Check back with us and let us know how it goes!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Bad Habits Give Way to Good Habits

Happy New Year! the Wise Men are at the Manger with no unpleasant surprises. And then, any minute, we'll put it all away again. I think we ate all the cookies. Some of these tins might still have a flavor no one cared much for. We could freeze those for Lent.

That was a joke.

I can't believe how many questions have gone unanswered.  Perhaps we were in a cookie stupor. Having all your time taken up by deciding between Nieman Marcus cookies or Chocolate Chip bars can really destroy one's concentration.

So here's a chestnut from mid December. Please forgive our pokiness:

We're doing a Jesse tree devotion in my house of many children, and my oldest (17) has lately been questioning the God of the OT, who comes off as a little, um, ungodly, sometimes. Last night we were reading about Moses and Pharaoh, and he asked whether God actually did evil in sending plagues, hardening Pharaoh's heart, etc. I know good St. Augustine had trouble with God's wrath and vengeance, but where can I point my son to give better answers than the feeble ones I can offer?

Happily, for both of us, we answered this one not so long ago.  Not surprisingly, it seems it took me a long time to answer it that time, too.  

This one's a little tougher, but rather delightful:

Hi Sister! I'm 14, and I believe that God is calling me to be a sister. The only convent that is near me is Dominican. What is the difference between Dominican, Franciscan, Benedictine, or any other kind of sisters? How do I know which one to join? Thank you! 

Benedictines are more contemplative, meaning, they spend more time in prayer. Dominicans and Franciscans are more "active".  That means the order, or the particular congregation, has a job to do: running a school or a hospital, working as nurses or teachers, that type of thing. An easy distinction would be to say that orders like the Benedictines (Poor Clares, Carmelites, etc.) the Spiritual Works of Mercy are tantamount. They strive to purify their own souls in order to pray for the world. Their work tend to be work that sustains the community, gardening and bee keeping and bread making.
get one

Active orders are working at the Corporal Works of Mercy, in soup kitchens and schools, missions and hospitals.

One type is not better than the other. It depends on how you feel you are best suited.

That said, you're to young to know how you are suited at all.  Certainly a great many saints were called from early childhood and you may be one of those people. But these days orders don't take children and you are still a child. 

It's a beautiful thing to be and you have important work to do, learning about yourself and the world. Ultimately, when the times comes and you still feel called, you may choose an order, but bear in mind that they have to choose you, too. You can't just run off and be a nun. The order will want to make sure you have a calling and they will want to make sure you are a good fit for the congregation. That means you'l want to bring your "A Game".

And that's what you should be working on now. You're "A Game".  Be the best person you can be. Make good grades. Work hard, have compassion in all things.

And enjoy yourself. Have fun. Explore the world. If you are truly called, experiencing as much of the world as you can won't be hard to give up. You can close that door with joy only when you know what's behind it.