Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015: Saints and Inspiration

And like that, 2014 is gone. Some years just seem to fly by. Like years when you go to a wedding, move 800 miles, start a new job or have a new baby... or all of the above! 2014 was a crazy, busy but good year for us. I am looking forward to 2015 though and hope it is at least a little bit slower than 2014 was.

My patron Saint for 2014 was St. Augustine, who I've always liked. He has never been my favorite but I've always liked him. I have not read everything he has written but what I've read I've liked. And he was an especially interesting patron last year in a John-the-Baptist kind of way. He seemed to lead up to another patron for me, one who will last beyond 2014, namely St. Thomas Aquinas, who I spent the last few months of the year learning about and after whom we named our son. Thomas Aquinas was quite a fan of Augustine and used much of his writings in his own thinking.

I tried using Jennifer Fulwiler's Saint Generator a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't remember which Saint it gave me except that it was one I had never heard of. So I did it again. And my randomly chosen Saint for the new year is St. John Vianney.

I also thought it would be fun to have a patron for each of the kids. Cecilia, Felicity and Elizabeth each did theirs themselves. Cecilia got St. Anthony of Padua, Felicity got St. Padre Pio and Elizabeth got St. Afra. I'm familiar with St. John Vianney, St. Anthony and St. Padre Pio but St. Afra was new to me so I had to look her up. She was a prostitute during the Diocletian persecutions but she was coverted by a Christian bishop after she and her mother helped hide him from the Romans. After her conversion, she devoted herself to working with the poor and was martyred for refusing to sacrifice to the pagan gods. She is a patron of converts, martyrs and penitent women. 

Since Teresa was busy elsewhere playing, I did one for her and she got St. Cajetan, another one I didn't know. He was born in 1480 to Venetian nobility, became a priest and founded a hospital for victims of incurable illnesses. In 1524, along with John Peter Caraffa, who would later become Pope Paul IV, he formed the Congregation of Clerks Regular to foster the Church's mission and revive the spirit and zeal of the clergy. He also founded a bank to help the poor, which later became the Bank of Naples. Busy guy, huh? He was known to play a game with parishioners where he would bet prayers, rosaries or devotional candles on whether he would perform some service for them, which he always did. He is the patron of the unemployed. Brigid clicked the trackpad herself and got St. Nicholas, another awesome saint! For Thomas, I drew St. Josemaria Escriva.

After posting who we all got on Jennifer Fulwiler's Facebook page, I scanned over 200 comments before recognizing the one I had gotten the previous week. St. Edwin of Northumbria, patron of converts, homeless people, kings and.... large families. :) 

So, for 2015, we will be praying to St. Edwin of Northumbria, St. John Vianney, St. Anthony, St. Padre Pio, St. Afra, St. Cajetan, St. Nicholas and St. Josemaria Escriva. 

Patronages include Priests, Native Americans, animals, the elderly, expectant mothers, harvests, lost items, mail, oppressed people, poor people, sailors/fishermen, travelers, converts, martyrs, the unemployed, altar servers, archers, boys, brides, children, happy marriages, lovers, maidens, prisoners, scholars, students, brewers, bakers, bankers, butchers, candlemakers, pharmacists, teachers, farmers, firefighters, grocers, innkeepers, judges, lawyers, merchants, millers, notaries, pawnbrokers, perfumeries, poets, soldiers, toy makers, weavers, Opus Dei, homeless people, kings and large families. And that should cover just about everyone. :)

My word for 2014 was "Peace." It certainly wasn't the peaceful year I was aiming for, but I don't think my choice was completely wrong. There is a peace, even when things are most difficult, when you know you are doing what God wants you to do, even if you aren't succeeding stupendously at it. But I think my word for 2015 has been chosen for me, not that I have any objection to it. Several times in the past month I have come across writing about what it means to rest. I think everyone would agree that rest is a good thing. But what is it? As Caryll Houselander said in Wood of the Cradle, "Rest is not idleness; indeed, restlessness is the torment of idle people." Rather, she says
Rest, far from being relaxation, is a culmination, a fullness of gathered peace, like the fullness and stillness of waters gathered to a flood tide.
She compares the contented rest of a baby sleeping in his mother's arms and her happy rest in holding him to the rest of God after creation. God was not tired but rather was in the "infinite peace of infinite love." It is the sigh of utter contentment.
God not only asks them to rest in Him, but asks of them that He may rest in them. ... If every person in whom Christ lives at all, in whom He is an infant - which means anyone whose soul is alive at all - surrendered themselves to Him, resting in Him so that He might rest in them, in each one of them the world's redemption would begin as it began in Mary, the Mother of God.
Rest is a savoring, a relishing in the moment. It is a surrendering in trust to God in contentment. It is a surrendering to all that is, to He who is. My word for 2015 is Rest.
"When night comes, and retrospect shows that everything was patchwork and much which one had planned left undone, when so 
 many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as it is, lay it in God's hands, and offer it up to him. In this way we will be able to rest in him, actually to rest, and to begin the new day like a new life." ~St. Edith Stein


  1. I got St Elizabeth Anne Seton. Somehow that seems really appropriate.

    I hadn't thought about picking saints for the kids. I wonder if they'd be interested. It would at least give us some saints whose lives we can investigate further.

    I love your thoughts about Rest.

  2. Whoa - resting... I'm looking forward to your reflective entries on that as you get further into the year.