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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Patron Saint of Exam Acers

 I work at a Catholic high school and 1st exams will be upon us in a few weeks.I would like to have some holy cards available for the students so they know who to ask for help with their exams. Who are the saints for the major school subjects: Math, English, Social Studies and Science...ooh and Theology too?

You need look no farther than St. Albert the Great for all you scholarly patron saintage. He was the teacher of the patron saint of teachers and students, St. Thomas Aquinas. Both saints are Doctors of the Church.  ohh and the that makes them particularly good choices for theology patronage.

And while we're on the subject of Doctors of the Church you might want to introduce your girls to three girls in Heaven who are Doctors of the Church: St. Therese the Little Flower, St. Catherine of Sienna, and St. Teresa of Avila. I think of them as the patron saint for people who are annoyed by the annoying habits of other, the patron saint of dieters, and the patron saint of perfectionists, respectively, But obviously they are all good choices for theology. I'll bet St. Catherine would be good for penmanship, too. She wrote a  lot of letters.

Is penmanship even a subject anymore? It should be.  Although the Palmer Method? That was for the birds.

I think outside the box, patron saint-wise, as my readers well know. If you're looking for someone to help you with your exams, I'd also turn to St. John Cupertino. He really could barely read or understand anything, but when it came time to take his priestly exam, the bishop asked him one question about one particular passage of Scripture. It was a passage that John was obsessed with...the ONLY one. So he aced his exam. That would make him the patron saint of exam acers.

I had a similar experience once in college. I was taking philosophy in summer school but I had missed the first day of class.  One evening I watched a documentary about Washoe, the chimp who had been taught sign language. The chimp using sign language proved that this animal was able to use symbolic thought by signing, when presented with a  doll in a cup, "Baby in my drink."  She also made jokes. 

The next day in class we covered a chapter in our book about what separates people from animals and there was a list of things. One of them was that animals were incapable of symbolic thought and another humor (which involves a lot of symbolic thought, when you think about it). So I explained what I had seen this chimp do and was able to knock three or fours things off that list in the book. Making and using tools was on there, too. Chimps also make and use tools and use some types of deductive reasoning.

Unbeknownst to me, because I had missed the first day of class, we had each been assigned a chapter of the book. I was supposed to lead the discussion of that chapter. That was the chapter I had been assigned. I had no clue until I was told I got an A on "my chapter".  I didn't even know I was leading the discussion.

I digress.

Another saint who believed in the power of education was St. Thomas More, who believed that boys and girls should be educated equally, a radical idea for his time. 

I'm sure our readers will pile on with some more wonderful ideas. 


Anonymous said...

We are blessed to live in an area where our daughter can have a prayer card for St. Thomas Aquinas laying on her desk while testing in a public school. Her psychology teacher jokingly asked if it was the placebo effect and she adamantly said "NO!"
St. Francesco Antonio Fasani
is the saint of the day.

Anonymous said...

Is Hildegarde of Bingen a Doctor, too?

Anonymous said...

Well, you could also pray to St. Catherine of Alexandria, who was schooled in oratory and philosophy. She debated pagan philosophers and was able to convert many of them to Christianity. A++ for her! Of course it led to her immediate martyrdom, but that meant she achieved sainthood, so in essence she aced the exam and got the best grade possible!

Angela said...

My mother told me that the patron saint of test-takers was St. Joseph Cupertino. I've been asking for his intercession for years on tests. Is it actually St. John Cupertino?