Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Choosing a Friend-Saint for the Journey

And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us  Hebrews 12:1

I love the Saint's Name Generator created by Jennifer Fulwiler that Chari mentioned, and I regularly go to it when I want to have the particular patronage of a saint for some endeavor or other.

I particularly like the way Jennifer has you click a button twice and in the interim (before your final pick) you are reminded to pray.   I have been surprised how close the choice is to something going on in my life or heart.

I also admit that I love randomizers in general, so a randomizer that helps me grow closer to God and His Communion of Saints is an All-Win for me. 

A couple of stories about how I have used it recently -- hoping to inspire you to choose a friend for any trial or difficulty if you feel so called....


Just before Christmas I was praying about various family difficulties, including my mother's struggle with cancer, and the name generator picked the beautiful Chiara Luce Badano as a patron for me.

Chiara was an athletic Italian teenager who was diagnosed with cancer at 17 and suffered much pain with great patience, offering it up in participation with Jesus's suffering on the Cross.

How timely for me to reflect on her life, especially now that I have teenagers and grown children and my role as mother has changed accordingly!   She was born when I was nine. 

Her parents wanted many children, but she was their only child, born 11 years after they married.  Of her upbringing her mother said something I want to remember:

"She was not only our daughter. She belonged, in the first place, to God and as such, we had to educate her, respecting her liberty."

 Like my daughter, Chiara was named after St Clare of Assissi, since Chiara is the Italian form of Clare.


For several years I have had a tradition  of choosing a saint for the year for our homeschool.  I don't usually choose randomly -- I pick the saint, usually connected with education, who I want to think about and have the intercession of as I go about the school year.  

This year I forgot to choose a patron saint for the school year, so I thought I would do it differently and let the saint's name generator decide.   

The choice?  Wow!  It's Ignatius of Loyola. !!!   He is an old favorite, having been my non-random pick for homeschool patron of the year at least once, and maybe twice.

In contrast to Chiara Badano, Ignatius was the youngest of 12 children and lived around the time of the Reformation.   As a soldier, he was wounded, and while recuperating and bored, he read a book about the saints which changed his life forever.  He went back to school as a grown man to get the education he missed the first time around, so he is sort of a patron of late learners for me.  

I almost always say his Suscipe after receiving Holy Communion.

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

 I only wish I could live it well, but my progress is slow, not a dramatic conversion as his was.  Still I think God has different plans for everyone, as these two saints show in their lives.   In my case, I probably need to learn to make progress in slow motion, for a lot of reasons.   I am very grateful that He hasn't given up on me though and that our Church allows us to ask for prayers from those who have gone before us!

The nice thing about choosing a saint as a patron is that the "new" saint only adds on to the old ones.  I am still friends with dear St Therese, SS. Francis and St Clare, St Joseph, St Francis de Sales, St Thomas Aquinas, St Augustine, St Anthony and all the others that have helped and guided me along the way.   I feel that if I am so blessed as to enter heaven someday I will see so many familiar faces.

Surrounded by the cloud of witnesses,



  1. How interesting, both of your saints this year are the names of two of my children, our first dd is Chiara and our no. 8 is Ignatius. Just really struck me.

  2. How neat, Erin -- those are great names. I'll think of your family when I'm thinking about my saints!

    BTW I have a niece and a goddaughter both called Erin!

  3. Last year I clicked on the Saint's Name Generator and picked St. Margaret Clitherow. I had never heard of her before and lost any enthusiasm I may have had very quickly, that is , until I read up a bit about her... I managed to find a little book about her and have read off and on. Fascinating!

    Willa, I also wanted to thank you and Chari for starting this blog. I love receiving emails with new posts from your wonderful blog.

  4. I love Margaret of Clitherow! Did you pick a new saint for this year?

    Thank you for the feedback, Stephanie. You are very sweet. : )

    God bless you in this new year!


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