Monday, March 9, 2015

Friends in High Places

In 2000, I was blessed to travel to Rome with a group of high school and college aged girls to be present for the end and beginning of the year celebrations at the Vatican.
On New Year's day during morning prayer one of our chaperones passed out strips of paper with the names of saints on them.
The idea was that this saint was our new friend for the year
that we could learn more about and follow their example of faith.
The idea of a saint as a personal friends struck me
and helped my understanding that we do not idolize saints,
instead we go to them as we would our friends on earth
and ask them to pray for us and join us on our journey in following Christ.
Ever since, I begin each year by choosing a saint or two to be my friend.
This has become one of my favorite traditions.
Some years I have selected a saint out of interest
and others I have selected randomly through various means.
This year, as I was packing up my belongings to store until the wedding,
I stumbled across a biography of Saint Gianna Molla that had been selected for me
from the library of a deceased friend as a memento.
It had been over a year and I had still not read a page.
I resolved then to read her biography and then move on to her own writings-
her love letters to her husband which have been published.
As the new year approached and the time to select a new saint drew near,
 I chose Saint Gianna as one of my friends to get to know better
and to learn from her example as a married, professional woman.
Then I found out about Jen's Saint's Name Generator.
Click a button, get a saint.
Sounds like great fun to me!
So I went over to see what the Holy Spirit (through Jen's coding genius) gave me:
Saint Cecilia
Patroness of musicians, a Christian wife that brought her husband to Christ, I saw her tomb when I was in Italy. Great saint, but I knew mostly everything we know about her.
 So I decided three saints for the year would be good:
Saint Catherine of Bologna
Other than her name, I knew nothing about her,
so she became my number three. I then went to the internet to write down their feast days, the days we remember and honor their lives of holiness, in my calendar.
As I began to research I realized something glaring me in the face
that I still have not gotten over.
I have three nieces.
Can you guess their names?
and Catherine.
My new friends were the patrons of all my nieces!
It brings a smile to my face whenever I think about it.
The joy in their eyes as I shared about my new friends
and how I would pray for them especially hard this year is such a gift.
I hope never to forget the beauty of their innocent love and admiration of the saints.
And of course, we had to use the Saint's Name Generator to find new friends for them too.
Do you pick a saint each year or have a favorite saint you relate to?
Who did you pick this year?
Today we remember Saint Catherine of Bologna.
She is the patroness of those undergoing temptation, art, and artists.
The daughter of a diplomat, she was well educated and left her position as maid of honor to a noble to enter become a nun. She was frequently visited and tempted by the devil.
After her death, her body was exhumed and is still incorrupt.
Saint Catherine,
pray for us!


  1. When I was in college, I read a bio of St. Gianna and I was so encouraged by her life. This year I got Giorgio Frassati & St. Monica from Jen's saint name generator:)

  2. Ha! As I read this I thought, "her nieces! her nieces! doesn't she see? her nieces!" :) God is detail-oriented!

  3. How fortuitous! I don't think I have ever shared my personal cloud of witnesses. I have added that to my list of things to blog about in the future.


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