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.