I have to be honest with you. I didn’t understand the point of patron saints for a long time. Then once I did, there was not a single saint I felt I really related to. When people would ask who my patron saint was I would respond with Mother Mary because my name is Mary. Pretty profound if I do say so myself. Really though, is there a patron saint of hot mess expresses that like Harry Potter and coffee a little too much - because they would be my first draft pick on patron saints. There is always St. Drogo who is the patron saint of coffee house owners (close enough to coffee lovers) but he was a hermit for 40 years. I get lonely when I don’t see people after 3 hours. St. Drogo might be the round 7 draft pick.
Luckily though I found my first round pick when I experienced the awesome impact of a saint’s intercession through St. Pope John Paul II (lovingly always called JPII in my mind). A few years ago I was seriously struggling with forgiveness and was advised to pray for the people, I affectionately called jackwagons, that I thought were so hard to forgive. I found myself going to a chapel to try to follow that advice and discovered that chapel also housed relics of JPII - pretty darn cool patron saintless or not. While sitting there, doing everything I could to prolong praying for people I didn’t too much care for, I remembered that St. Pope John Paul II had an attempt on his life in the 80s and almost immediately forgave, and even befriended, his unsuccessful assassin. Figured that if JPII could do that, I could at least pray for my jackwagons.
I asked for JPII’s intercession in helping me to pray and as time went on and I began to pray for those people I felt all hate, anger, and resistance to forgive leave my heart. These feelings were something I had held onto for years, and they had just left me in minutes. Now it may sound silly, but I have no doubt in my mind that JPII had my back in talking to Jesus about letting those negative emotions go.
Ever since then, I’ve been pretty hooked on my boy St. Pope John Paul II. I have more books about him or by him than I do of Harry Potter. I fangirl over him the way 13-year-olds fangirled over Justin Bieber in 2010. He was someone who helped me in my faith at a time I really needed it and even though he wasn’t quite someone I related to - he was someone I aspired to be more like. He had an extreme love for the Lord and worked to always pursue Christ.
Let me tell you that man had plenty of opportunities to throw his hands up in frustration and walk away from his faith. He experienced the effects of Nazi invasion and lost all of his family members before 21. He had a deep love for nature and youth. He spoke up and fought for what he believed in and he loved deeply. JPII did amazing things that affected the entire world, but he started first as a boy who lived with a pure and humble heart. By being truly present with those that he encountered. By demonstrating to others the love Christ has for us while being completely passionate about it. He allowed Christ to be his powerhouse. Even this coffee loving, Harry Potter nerd, hot mess express can do that - most days, and pray that on the off days JPII will help pull me through. So I leave you with this message St. Pope John Paul II left the world at the opening of his Pontificate, “Do not be afraid!”
Do not be afraid to spread Christ’s message to others. Do not be afraid to accept the life Christ has called you to. Do not be afraid to be Christ to all you encounter. “Do not be afraid to be saints!”
See you on the other side of sainthood!
About the Author
Mary is a middle school math and special education teacher, which means her sense of humor revolves around fart jokes. But really, they're funny! She has ran two half-marathons and is training for more. She loves all things Harry Potter and is always down for a cup of coffee and a long talk about God, the Mass, or her homeboy JPII.
For those of you who don’t know me, my confirmation saint is someone very near, and very dear to my heart. I picked St. Therese of Lisieux as my confirmation saint on a whim. After spending what felt like ages scouring books of Catholic saints to try and find the one with whom I felt most connected, I felt like I had turned up empty. Finally, I saw a picture of Therese standing amongst a plethora of roses. With my desperation to pick a saint, I took the connection between this image and my middle name, Rose, to be a good enough reason to pick her. So I did.
In the years since, I’ve started to learn more about the Little Flower, and I feel as though we have built up a real friendship. I’ve found that this whim that led me to choose her as my confirmation saint wasn’t really such a whim at all; it was a true sign from God. St. Therese of Lisieux was a young girl like myself. And in her life, she really saw her littleness as a child of God. She knew God destined each of us for greatness, but she recognized that that greatness doesn’t always have to be a big thing. She realized that her own greatness would be unleashed in simple, ordinary, little things. This idea of hers is something that I greatly take to heart. I strive to live each action of mine with intent to glorify God, whether it is a big or small action. While I could continue on and on about my love for Therese, I’m going to save that for another day. Today I want to focus on one specific gift that my friendship with Therese has led me to find: a friendship with another saint.
One evening, as I was scrolling through Netflix titles, searching for something to distract me from my homework, I selected a random documentary that I had never heard of before about a saint that nearly everyone is familiar with: St. Teresa of Calcutta. As a young girl, I was given a rosary with Mother Teresa on it as a gift from my PSR teacher. It smelled like roses, which I connected with, again, because of my middle name. Besides this and my limited understanding of her service to the poorest of poor, I knew very little about this woman. I quickly learned that she and I had much more in common than I expected. The moment that caught me most was when she signed her name as “Mary Teresa,” which I soon learned was due to her devotion to none other than St. Therese of Lisieux. I realized that I needed to learn more about her and to build a relationship with this saint that I felt connected to in a different way.
Shortly after, I left for camp; a place that has always been a piece of heaven on Earth for me. My new role at camp was one that I was extremely excited about, but also incredibly nervous to take on. I knew that this place that I loved would take a new form for me, and would bring on some new challenges in the weeks that would follow. In preparation, I asked St. Therese of Lisieux to be with me and to give me what I needed to make the summer a great one. However, no matter how much I prepared myself beforehand, there was no way to be prepared in every aspect of this new experience. While I wouldn’t trade those 5 weeks for anything, I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was incredibly challenging, and there were times where I felt like I was a failure. There were moments of great stress, spiritual disconnect, and even some moments when I would explode on my best friends.
It was in these moments that St. Therese sent me what I had prayed for. In these moments, she brought me to Mother Teresa. St. Teresa of Calcutta spent her life following a “call within a call” by leaving the peace and safety of her convent to spend her life living amongst and serving the people of Calcutta. In all the hustle and bustle of her call, she desperately searched for the relationship that she once had with God. She felt abandoned and alone. She knew that she was where she was meant to be, but in her humanness, she felt so disconnected from the Lord. Even though she felt lost and alone, she refused to let go of her faith. St. Teresa lived a life in full service of those around her, and in this service, she sacrificed her peace for a relationship with God that would challenge her greatly but would allow her to deepen the faiths of those around her.
As the summer went on, I started to feel St. Teresa of Calcutta’s presence in my life. I related to her suffering in my own way. I realized that my new role at camp meant that it wouldn’t feel the same way that it always did to me as a camper and staffer. It would be a different and more challenging experience, but still a faithful one in its own way. I was no longer in a place to be absorbing the overwhelming feeling, but in the place to be giving it to those I loved most--my camp family.
God is there in all moments. There are some moments and places that you really feel Him; His presence is overwhelmingly present. But it’s important to remember that He is still there, calling to you and shaping you in those moments when you feel alone. St. Teresa once said that although we may feel alone at times, “suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you.” Embrace these moments, because they are between you and Him alone.
About the Author
Meagan Moore is one semester from graduating with a degree in education and plans to continue learning and earn her Master's degree as well She loves Jesus, coffee, and pizza in that order. Her favorite Disney princess is Rapunzel and she loves to pray for her friends and family. Her patron saints are St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Calcutta, but she is always open to more saintly friends.