O My 3 Patron Saints, Teach Me What You Know!

Yes, that is patrons, as in multiple. Because I have three of them, this year. Plus all the others I’m not able to leave behind.

I’ve been pulling saint patrons (or having friends pull them for me, or using internet generators like this one and this one) for probably a dozen years, and most years I start out getting my saint and wondering, “Whaaaat? Saint Who?”

My nun friends all say “you don’t pick the saint; the saint picks you”, and I’ve tried to keep that in mind. Most years, I eventually figure out why a particular saint “picked” me, but it is not always obvious, and some years December comes and I ask my patron, with whom I’ve lost contact, “so, what was that about, anyway?”

The thing is, if you don’t take it seriously — if you don’t remember to talk to your patron every day — the thing doesn’t jibe. You never figure out why the Holy Spirit, or the saint, thought there was a match, there. When you really seek out your patron, really study his life and remember him (or her) while at prayer, you develop a genuine relationship with them — a true friendship. It’s great that everyone is talking about pulling their saints this week, but if you don’t work the relationship, it ends up meaning very little.

The year I drew Saint Philip Neri — about whom I knew nothing beyond the fact that he was a cheerful fellow — I decided to read about him; I watched this excellent film about him. I placed him on my oratory and kept him in mind. Every day, in my prayers, I would say “Saint Philip Neri, please teach me what you know…”

Well, I am a bad student at the best of times, but I believe the general state of optimism that infuses my faith, which some have derided as “simplistic” and “Pollyannaish” (and which may well be, for all I know, I don’t examine it) can be directly attributed to my friendship with Philip, which has continued far beyond 2010. I hold that Apostle of Rome to be directly responsible for my having visited Rome every year since then, and participating in Mass at his crypt is, with each visit, a great and emotional joy for me.

I do owe him some Euro in the collection basket at Chiesa Nuova, so I hope he’ll bring me back once more!

Philip Neri will always be a particularly dear and honored friend, and personal patron, but specific to 2014, I have three of them.

Quite possibly I need three.

The first, pulled for me by a friend, is Saint Dominic Savio, who died when he was 14 years old.

And yes, when my friend sent me the pull, I was all, “Whaaat? Oh come on! He’s a kid!” Well, I have to read more about him, but even if he died at age fourteen, Savio seems to have been quite an extraordinary kid, and I’m already picking up on how I may need him.

Then, I found myself checking out an internet “Patron Saint Generator” and — purely out of habit, with no fore-thought (or fore-prayer) — clicking the button. Up came Blessed Anne-Catherine Emmerich and I was all like, “well, no, she’s that crazy mystic, and anyway, I didn’t mean to do that, and I hadn’t pushed that button intentionally, so it doesn’t count.”

But how do you throw away a beata? I can’t. I figure I have to learn about her, too.

But then, since I now had two patrons, I figured, may as well go for the trifecta; go big or go home, right? So I said a prayer to the Holy Spirit and then pressed the button again, and up came, Saint Rita of Cascia and I don’t even have to wonder about that. I get it.

If I’m honest, I will admit that on some level I get all of them turning up on me this year. And I feel like it’s going to be a hard year.

Because I have a lot to learn. God help me.

Saints Rita, and Dominic and Philip, Blessed Anne-Catherine, teach me what you know!

But please be gentle.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • AMoniqueOcampo

    Sometimes, getting a saint you don’t know can be exciting! It’s a great way to learn more about the holy men and women who are praying for us.

  • Diane

    In 2011, I got Bl. Teresa of Calcutta and ended up celebrating mass outside of Nairobi with the Sisters of Charity (did not see that coming at the beginning of the year! 2012 was Our Lady of the Rosary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus – ended up in Israel and rec’d a miracle during a mass at the Holy Sepulchre. That was amazing. 2013 was my trifecta: St Mark, Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Raphael and wow did I need them – very rough end to the year, but a LOT of healing. This year is St. Louis de Montfort. Okay, St. Louis, let’s go, what do you have to teach me? Only thing I’ve read so far is that he could be a patron of rejection given how much he rec’d. Yowzers!

  • http://www.brutallyhonest.org Rick Rice

    St. Bridget of Sweden for me… Whaaat?

  • Kathleen

    I got two this year: St. Anselm of Canterbury and St. Albert the Great. Turns out they are just perfect for me. I’ve been reading Anselm’s Proslogion for months. I downloaded St. Albert’s bio (Vost) – and I think we will “get along” really well. I’ll have as many questions for him as I have for St. Anselm. Proslogion is a read/ponder/read/ponder kind of “book” – and I’m frequently writing down questions to think about … and eventually the “light comes on.” I think 2014 will be a very good year.

  • http://nunspeak.wordpress.com/ Sr_Lisa

    I received two Patrons this year. In our annual New Year’s ‘lottery’ in my community, I received St. Martha (you know, Mary and Lazarus’ sister? Probably telling to get moving!). I really believe St. John of the Cross chose me this year, on our New Year’s Eve retreat, quotes of his kept popping up in my head until I went to the Library and read his biography. Saints can be persistent at times! Blessed New Year Elizabeth, and thanks for linking my post!

  • Anne

    I love the idea of the saint choosing you. Praying about it briefly first, I used Jennifer Fulwiler’s saint generator and was given first St. Alphonsus Liguori, who I know next to nothing about, but I’ve read a few prayers by him and have been blown away. Am looking forward to diving into more of his readings as the year goes on.

  • http://nunspeak.wordpress.com/ Sr_Lisa

    First, thanks Elizabeth for linking my post on how Saints choose us! This year I received Saint Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, and dear friend of the Lord Jesus. I think she wants to help me keep moving this year (I tend to be more a Mary type by nature). But I also have been discovering something new about her and her relation to dragons. I’m going to post on that one! I also received Saint John of the Cross who is going to help me through a particularly rough patch I’m in right now. Just in reading his biography the last couple of days, I am encouraged! Let us enjoy the new year! It’s going to be a great journey! Blessings everyone!

  • Lynn

    What do you do when you get a saint about whom you know nothing, and about whom very little has been written? St. Rene Goupil is who I got. Then I got St. Andrew the apostle. Not sure where to go with those. Ow long should it take to feel some sort of connection? Lynn.

  • Nan

    St. Rene Goupil is one of the North American Martyrs. I recently read Emily Cavins’ biography of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, whose faith is the fruit of their martyrdom. I highly recommend the book because in addition to sharing what we know about St. K, she also gives us background, including that Kateri was from the village which martyred the Jesuits and shares some information about them, chiefly St. Isaac Jogues. He’s one of my favorites as he had been tortured, so lost his thumbs and was no longer able to say Mass as he couldn’t elevate the Host. He asked Pope Urban for a dispensation, got it, and went back to Canada, where he was martryed.

  • Nan

    In my experience, we don’t always learn why the saint has chosen us the same year; I had St. Eligius in 2008 and had no connection to him whatsoever that I knew of. Because I didn’t go to Mass, since I wasn’t raised that way, I thought he wanted me to go to Mass. He’s a goldsmith and in 2001 I received a chalice to care for, which I had for nearly a year, but has since been given to a foreign seminarian who has now been a priest for a year. Said chalice needed some work done. In the meantime, I had another saint, who gave the Eucharist to thousands each time he said Mass. Can’t remember who he is but had several saints with strong Eucharistic connections before receipt of chalice.

    One year, I had St. John Chrysostom, which is a no-brainer; technically I belong to the Ruthenian Church and he’s their patron.

  • KyPerson

    I got St. Scholastica which is nice since I have been drawn to Benedictine spirituality for some time now. I also got John Bosco and since I teach, that’s a wonderful choice too.


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