My calendar told me it was time to start thinking about the next 2-month term, so I went to the Saint's Name Generator to pick the patron saint for the December/January term. It picked St Peregrine for me.
During these past three terms, the saints picked for me have had some obvious relation to my homeschool. But what was up with picking St Peregrine? He is the patron saint of cancer patients, of course.
I thought about it for a while, and decided that as usual, God knew what He was doing. St Peregrine is also the patron of incurable chronic disease. Thirteen years ago, Aidan was very often in and out of the hospital.... mostly in. Though we were not on the oncology floor, certainly we came to know many children with chronic disease, and their parents, as well. These families are undergoing incredible stress, and the holiday season is particularly hard for them. Since I was often there with Aidan during the Advent season, that season often brings those families to mind.
Also, both my parents died of cancer-related illness. And another close relative of mine is undergoing cancer treatment this week. Finally, I just found out that the husband of a dear kind person at my local church has been diagnosed with cancer.
I am realizing that while I tend to focus on academics in the homeschool, the December/January term has always been primarily about relationships and especially, thinking of the poor, the marginalized, the ill, the depressed. How can we help them? Faith at Strewing has a 40 days for the poor series going on, listing ideas for helping out.
So I'm glad that God once again spoke to me through the saint's name generator. Advents are generally difficult for me. Many of our Advents dealt with illness and death. Last Advent, my mom suffered the neurological event that eventually led to her passing in March. "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light".... this is really literal to me, so much so that Advent almost always feels very dark to me. I think it's OK, because it ends in the peace and joy of the Nativity, but I've found that pushing away that sadness is a recipe for inviting real depression.
Here is a saint who can help. And guess what? I find that he has a national shrine quite close to where my two oldest sons live.
St. Peregrine, as a humble Servant of Mary, you experienced human weakness and the pain and suffering of sickness. Knowing that medicine and human knowledge have limits, we pray for all those involved with the medical profession that they will be a true source of healing and comfort to all people. Like you, we also turn to God in our suffering. Just as Jesus reached out and touched you with His healing hand, we pray that the following sick person(s) will be strengthened in body and spirit and cured of his or her illness by Jesus Christ through your intercession.
(Here mention the name(s) of your sick relative or friend.)
In gratitude we pray for all people of the world that they will come to know you, St. Peregrine, and the love that God has for each of them. Amen.
More on intercession of the saints here and here.
|Fra Lippo Lippi, the Presentation at the Temple, St Peregrine on the right, and St Philip, who converted him, on the left.|