Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Saint of My Household

Catholics are oft to say, "I didn't choose my saint. He/She chose me."

I don't claim either. My saint didn't choose me and I didn't choose her.

She was given to me.

As a young girl I knew two things about the saint whose name I was given at baptism...
  • she was the grandmother of Jesus
  • many females (especially in my family) shared her as their patron saint
I went through life sharing her with my mother, my cousin, and many of the girls in my class. I failed to see anything special about her.

Ann...Anne...Anna...was as common as pictures in a museum.

Another mark against her was that she was old. Silly, foolish, and young; I wasn't impressed by an eldery saint. She wasn't young. She wasn't pretty. She didn't have an exciting story to tell.

Ann was as plain a saint as one could pick.

At my 8th grade Confirmation I didn't know much about saints other than my dad's saint St. Nicholas, my brother's saint St. Patrick, and my mom's saint St. Ann. Those were the saints of our household and they were the ones familiar and steadfast.

So I presented myself to the Bishop with my patron saint's name written in stone ink upon my nametag: St. Anne (carefully making sure they spelt it with that passionate "e").

Somehow, in naming my girls, St. Anne was never far away. My middle daughter was also given St. Ann to model her life after (without the "e" because her daddy said her name had enough letters in it and men don't understand the poetry in that added "e") as was my last daughter (whose saint is St. Claire) who was given Anna in her name by her older sister.

Saint Anne was not chosen within our family. She was given and has been given to the female members of our family. Her patronage is passed down like a family heriloom, a family rosary. Her name has graced our family Bibles and her protective gaze has watched over the wives and mothers in our family from one generation to the next.

She's old, but familiar.

She's a grandmother, which makes her ever dear.

She's plain, but so are we.

Her name is common, but when translated means "grace"; I like that. :-)

She's not exciting, but she's steadfast.

She doesn't have a great story to tell but she needn't. She is the grandmother of the world's greatest storyteller.

Before the new year began, I invited you to guess my Saint of the Year.

I wrote:
"Another novel little presence I think will be most helpful this new year will be to have a Patron Saint for 2011! What a nifty idea! This Saint's Name Generator is making its presence spun around in cyberspace so I thought, 'Sounds fun! Good time to stay focused on a good role model and guide!' Guess what saint I got!?

"Tell you all what...you guess the saint I got for 2011 and we'll have a door prize. I think that's a great way to bring in the New Year. Don't you?

"Just leave a comment in the combox guessing which saint you think I got for 2011 and the first person to guess it right wins! :-)

"I'm putting a considerable amount of thought into what the door prize will be."
Then I promptly forgot to share with you which saint I got. And I never did think of an appropriate door prize.

You can probably take an impulsive guess on which saint I was given by the Saint's Name Generator.

That's right: St. Anne

I was surprised, yet not surprised. That was when I realized that when you are given something, you accept it. And embrace it. As a gift.

In all the guesses that were placed on my blog post...
  • St. Therese of Lisieux
  • St. Monica
  • St. Rose of Lima
  • St. Mary
  • St. Martha
  • St. Francis of Assisi
  • St. Giles
...the only guess for St. Anne...
"I was once told by a friend that she prayed for patience, but found out that understanding surpassed patience. My guess for the saint would be St. Ann...your patron saint...such a saint with both...patience and understanding...and definitely NO expectations but for being open to God's wish to bring into the world the child that would become his Son's mother.

Oma "
...was made by my mother. Isn't it weird how well our mothers get things right where it concerns us? So the door prize isn't a big deal afterall. ;-)
St. Anne is patroness of housewives and women in labor. In art, a door is the key that reveals who she is which is fitting since, through her bearing of the Mother of God, she is the door into which He was welcomed into this world.

She is the doorbearer...for my household and all who pray for her intercession. She held wide the door when her unmarried daughter came and told her that she was expecting. She held wide the door when Mary and Joseph visited her. She held wide the door for the Christ child to toddle into her kitchen on soft feet.

{My favorite picture of St. Anne by Murillo}
 Today is the feast day of St. Anne (and her husband St. Joachim).

St. Anne has proven, time and time again, to be a worthy saint of our household. Time and time again she opens wide to the door to my inquiries, my concerns, my pleas, and my prayers. And she answers as only a grandmother will. She was given to our family many years ago. She takes her role as grandmother very seriously.

More Reading on and Prayers of Intercession to St. Anne

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