Domestic Church Parenting Rachel M Saints

Choosing a Patron, Or The Patron That Chooses You

My family and I attended an Epiphany story time at our local Catholic bookstore recently. It was wonderful, and all seven of us had a great time. And, when we were finished my children wanted to visit one of their favorite places in all the world, the twirly racks of prayer cards.

My son Abraham and a King.

There is something that just calls out to children when those displays are in a store, saying “spin me, spin me, your mom won’t mind”. I tell you my kids can find them anywhere. But, if there are tiny little cards with beautifully embossed pictures of Holy Saints and prayers on them, oh my, our little darlings are in Heaven. It’s all I can do to keep them from pulling handfuls down at a time to take home and stash under their pillows. (Isn’t that where you keep your prayer cards?) After all, what’s cooler than collecting baseball cards? Collecting holy cards, where all the players are on the same team, The Saints! Though some may be Padres, or Cardinals….I digress.

So, there we were making our way to these little displays of joy, and my five year old son heads the other way. I see him making a beeline toward an employee, so I quickly follow as I am intensely interested as what could keep him from these whispering spinning racks. He says to her, “Excuse me, do you have a Blessed John Duns Scotus prayer card?”. To which she laughs, quite surprised by my child’s request, and replies “no.” My poor child, I fear he may have trouble finding this Holy Grail of prayer cards, the prayer card of his patron for 2013. This on top of the fact that there exists no St. Abraham prayer card, whom he is named for, well it may be a rough year for him who is obsessed with collecting prayer cards.

This year, inspired by a friend, each person in my family chose a patron Saint for the year. Someone to learn about through reading and prayer, and someone to intercede for them throughout the year. My friend shared with me this passage from the diary of St. Faustina,

“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year’s Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning, during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn’t read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 – the Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.” Excerpt from “Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of St. Faustina”

Well, that was all I needed to read, I was sold. So, we used a website created by Jennifer Fulwiler called “Saint’s Name Generator”
All you have to do, is push a button, and out comes the name of your saint for the year.

We let our little kiddos come up and push the button and as I watched each Saint name appear, I was taken aback by how it did seem as though the saints were picking them. My husband recieved St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, best known for writing the Vulgate translation of the bible. My husband talks about St. Jerome all the time, so I found this choice quite fitting. And, St. Jerome is the patron of students and school children, maybe St. Jerome chose my college professor husband to give him a better insight into the lives of his students.

My son obviously was given Blessed John Duns Scotus, whom we knew nothing about. I think this too was an amazing match-up, for my son though he is only 5, is quite a theologian. He has such an amazing understanding of the Faith and The Church, and he uses his intelligence to defend her. As we researched John Duns Scotus, we found that he strongly defended the Church’s teaching on the Immaculate Conception of Mary. My son, Abraham, has a strong devotion to Mary and The Holy Family.

And as we continued, I became more and more amazed by the Saints chosen for each of my family members. My daughters received St. Josemaria Escriva, St. Florian of Lorch, St. Dunstan, and St. Thomas Becket. Lastly, I was given St. Vincent de Paul. This inspiring Saint, with such a love for the poor and downtrodden, this is exactly who I needed. A man to humble my thoughts, and encourage my love in all areas of my life. I truly look forward to learning about my dear Saint, and doing my best to live like him this year.

Some of my little saints.

Just as my friend encouraged me, I too encourage you to choose your Saint for the year. Use Jennifer’s website and see which Saint chooses you. Please share with us in the comments as well, I am love to see the work of the Holy Spirit among us!

Lastly, I humbly petition you to pray for our dear sister in Christ, Jennifer Fulwiler, fellow Catholic blogger, star of The Conversion Diary, and all around amazing woman. She has been admitted to the hospital for pulmonary embolisms in both lungs, though both her and her unborn son are stable. Let us ask for the intercession of St. Michael, Jennifer’s patron Saint for the year.

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Mercy and Justice -or- My Perfect Confession


I’m Catholic and have been since birth.  My faith has always been part of the definition of me.  That being said, in May 2010 my world fell apart and the foundations of my faith cracked.

At 8:50 pm on May 26th 2010 my beautiful daughter Rita Marie was born.  She weighed 8lbs even and was 21 inches long.  She had a head of gorgeous black hair.  She was all me but for her nose and her hands – those were her daddy’s.

She was perfect.

But she wasn’t breathing.

A special ambulance came and rushed her to the local Children’s hospital.  There she stayed for two days.  She died in my arms when she was but 48 1/2 hours old.  I sang to her as she left us for Heaven and Life Everlasting.  Her daddy made sure of of her destination when, good Catholic man that he is, he baptised her as soon as it was evident she wasn’t breathing.

I’m so blessed to have a Saint in Heaven who is especially concerned for me and my family.  But I am also broken.  I have struggled greatly since Rita came and left us.  On the Feast of the Assumption I went to Confession for the first time in 10 months.  10 months is a long time for sin to build.  I didn’t even know where to start and I let Father know.  I was expecting to come out with a penance that would take me hours to complete but God surprised me with His Justice and Mercy.  He had just the right Priest waiting for me and cleared the line so that I could quickly duck into the confessional without having to wait for ages.

Without going into intimate detail of my fallen nature, Father said two things that stuck with me.   The first was that there are two parts to faith: the intellectual knowledge or understanding that God is Real and the trust that He wants good for us.  The second thing that stuck with me was my penance and the spiritual guidance received.  Respectively, to pray simply the prayer of St. Faustina “Jesus, I Trust in You.” a certain number of times and to say every day, as many times as needed, “Lord give me the light and grace to get through this day.”

I truly feel God’s love and mercy from that penance.  He knows I am already hurting and broken and chose to remind that I am His and that He loves me even when I am expecting Him to give me the spiritual equivalent of a good spanking.

I went into the confessional feeling like God had it in for me –  like I was His new Job – and came out feeling like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet.

Our God is both Merciful and Just.  He is perfectly both and measures each to us as we need.

Jesus, I Trust in You.