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Pick a patron saint for the New Year

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The saints — they pick you. When they want to befriend you, they insert themselves into your life. For my birthday present, my parents ordered an Immaculate Heart of Mary picture from an online store. What arrived in the mail was a St. Joseph statue. They called the store about the error, the order was re-shipped, and once again — St. Joseph. So in addition to the Immaculate Heart on the wall, I have a little shrine to St. Joseph because he insisted on being there. Thank you, St. Joseph.

 If you have a special intention and can’t wait for one of these providential incidents to drop a saint into your life, there’s also a way to “make” a saint pick you. On New Year’s Day, each person in my family uses the Saint’s Name Generator at saintsnamegenerator.com to get a special patron for the year. All you do is click the “Find a Saint for Me!” button; say a prayer; and when you’re ready to meet your saint, click “Show Me My Saint.” The website provides you with your saint’s name and feast day, and a list of things he or she is patron of. The link to “Learn More” about your saint takes you to the saint’s biography on another website.

When a saint enters your life, through the Saint’s Name Generator or some other way, sometimes there are obvious connections, while other times, you are left wondering. My patron for this past year was Blessed Anton Martin, an educator and textbook writer. I know he helped me with my teaching job. Last year, it was St. Andrew Bobola, a martyr with a temperament the polar opposite of mine, and the year before it was St. John Vianney, a fellow devotee of St. Philomena. The saint who volunteered to patronize this article is St. Francis of Paola, miracle worker, hermit at 15 and founder of a religious order at 19.

No matter whether the particular influence of the saints in our lives is clear or hidden, we can be sure that the saints want us to be happy. We should want happiness for other people too, and it doesn’t have to be a mere sentimental wish. Jesus told St. Gertrude, “Know that the more you pray for anyone, the happier they will become.” 

A corollary, then, to picking a patron saint is to pick a person to adopt spiritually for the year. That is, quietly choose someone for whom to pray and offer up little sacrifices over the course of the year, doing in a humble and imperfect way what the saints do for us. 

The reflex choice probably would be a person in great need of conversion, but also consider picking a fellow Catholic. Obtain the graces to make them a saint, and they will draw others to Heaven along with them. We don’t have to do much. St. John Vianney said, “When we have only a little, very well, let us give a little.” Perhaps begin by clicking the “Find a Saint for Me!” button. 

Wagner can be reached at ekwagner2012@yahoo.com


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017