This Advent Season's collaboration series is going to feature two posts each from three different young women who are all in different places in their lives and faith. All three have been asked to share about their personal patron saint and how they incorporate their faith into their daily lives. But what is a patron saint? And what even is a saint?
Catholics believe that all who are with Jesus in Heaven are saints. They do not have to be recognized by the Church to be a saint; just in heaven. This means that our goal in life should be to become a saint!
Patron saints are those in Heaven we feel particularly connected with for one reason or another. They have had similar life struggles to you. You may admire them for a particular quality. They have been declared the patron saint of something you can relate to, such as St. Jude and lost causes, St. Francis of Assisi and animals, or St. Maria Goretti and young women. They could be your namesake or just a saint who you really, really like. You get to chose your patron saints!
To kick off the Advent season though, I wanted to share about the saints in my own life. To be completely honest, I don't have one particular saint that I feel particularly connected to or close with. When I was confirmed, I chose St. Helena of the Cross, the mother of Emperor Constantine. She was a practicing Catholic and desperately wanted her son to be as well. She hoped that by converting him, she would be able to save the Christians who were being viciously persecuted across the Roman empire. I still intercede through St. Helena for perseverance and leadership as a Christian woman.
St. Helena is also known as St. Helena of the Cross. She was the woman who discovered the True Cross and nails that were used at the Crucifixion. I was drawn to her because of her tenacity, her leadership, and her love for her son. Even in high school, I knew I would need a woman who led fearlessly despite adversity and heartbreak in her life.
When we intercede to a saint, we aren't praying to them but asking them to pray for us. We all recognize the power of having more than one person praying for our intentions. Intercessions are just that, asking those in Heaven, closer to God, to also intercede through us. They are a part of our greater Christian community.
Who is your favorite saint to intercede through?
My family will never let me live down my car accident season. My dad teases that his Excursion shudders every time we drive near the site of the crash. My siblings like to remind me that I should have hit the dog, not the pole. My uncle likes to tease the deer are out for revenge. Despite a very good driving record up until then and even better after- no one wants to let me live down those few accidents. Even my husband (who wasn't around for this!) brings them up.
I have sympathy for Doubting Thomas because of this. He makes one mistake, struggles with his faith once, and is somehow strapped with this title as the disciple who failed to believe. Today's Gospel tells Thomas' tale, of struggling to believe that Jesus had returned and stood in the midst of the Disciples. But in all fairness, all the others had seen Him. Not only that, but He ate in front of them, proving that He was physically there, not just spiritually.
Thomas was just the unlucky one who missed the opportunity to see and believe. And he was the loudmouth who declared what it would take for him to believe. But Thomas is still a saint, still one of the 12 Apostles who followed Jesus from the beginning of his ministry. He would go on to preach and teach for years after Jesus. He didn't let that mistake define him, despite what we have defined him by.
That, my friends, is the beauty of our forgiving faith and merciful God. Jesus did not turn Thomas away or shame him for his doubt. It was humanity that remembers him for failures; God will never hold your mistakes against you! Thomas' story is not a story of blame or judgment, but of mercy and love. Just like Thomas, we can go on to become missionaries, teachers, and saints to serve our Lord and our God.