Sunday, February 17, 2008

Patron Saints

Those of you who use Google Reader to keep up with blogs have probably noticed that they are in the business of recommending reading material if your list of subscriptions fails to deliver. Ironic given that my whole reason for using a feed reader in the first place is to avoid blog surfing. But given that many of my favorites have taken Lent off, my box has come up empty more than once and I find myself drifting over to the friendly green box. The recommended blogs are uncannily suited to my tastes and interests--Google is so creepy--and I have to say that I'm glad that I spent awhile with Margaret in Minnesota because she directed her readers to a delightful online ministry.

The Patron Saint of the Year Ministry offers to match you with a saint for the year if you send an e-mail. This is an old custom practiced, apparently, by St. Faustina in her religious community. A bin is maintained of, well, not ALL the saints but as many as can be found, I suppose, and a name is chosen by lot at the start of the year. I think it's a lovely custom but I can understand how maintaining such a bin might be cumbersome for an individual family. Marianne happily solves this problem by drawing our saint on our behalf.

If you've seen my sidebar you already know that my patron for the year is St. Raymond Penafort. I had an immediate connection to St. Raymond. He was an early Dominican friar and the third master general of the order. We are close to the Dominicans here in Washington and knew of him though he is a bit obscure, generally. He was a canon lawyer, a bishop, and is a patron of all things connected to childbirth (we'll see if that comes in handy this year).

Our family is especially intrigued by this "random" selection process because I e-mailed Eric after receiving my patron and suggested that he acquire one for himself as well. The saint who chose him was St. Peter Nolasco. Never heard of him? I had. I'd just barely finished reading up on my patron when Eric e-mailed me to tell me his so I knew that St. Peter Nolasco was known for his friendship with St. Raymond Pennafort. They founded the Mercedarians who were in the business of redeeming Christians held captive by the Muslims. Interesting. We will look forward to seeing where these two saints take us this year.

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