By Mary DeTurris Poust
So I went ahead and gave the old Patron Saint Generator a spin over at Conversion Diary for a little New Year's fun with a spiritual twist. (Hat tip to The Anchoress for that one.) With the click of a button, a little prayer, and another click of a button, you can get yourself a personal patron saint. Sort of like a Catholic version of Spin the Bottle or Magic 8 Ball.
I clicked and prayed, hoping for some spectacular saint to show up in my queue. Drum roll, please...St. John Berchmans. Really? I have to admit that I was more than mildly disappointed at this turn of events, which is probably not the right attitude to have when seeking a patron saint. If not spectacular, I would have settled for a saint whose name I at least recognized. I was convinced that my 14-year-old son had transferred his energy to my pick by standing near me when I clicked and he was really meant to pull the patron saint of altar servers and young people. But, alas, my son tried again on his own and came up with Francis Xavier. We are apparently in need of Jesuit patron saints.
I went to St. John Berchmans' info page, and found this: "John Berchmans was not noted for extraordinary feats of holiness or austerity, nor did he found orders or churches or work flashy miracles." Come on, my son's pick of Francis Xavier was all about flashy: "The gift of tongues. Miracle worker. Raised people from the dead. Calmed storms. Prophet. Healer."
Then I continued reading the St. John Berchmans' bio and found the one line that seemed to make this saint a perfect pick for me after all: "The path to holiness can lie in the ordinary rather than the extraordinary."
Sigh. So that's it. Story of my life. Trying to work my way toward sainthood through the ordinary stuff of life. Okay, okay. I'll take it. Although I did spin a second time to get a backup patron saint and came up with John of the Cross. That's what I'm talking about. Darkness, struggle, mysticism. Surely that first spin was just a warm-up, right?
I'm going to head into the new year with an eye on St. John Berchmans to see what this saint might have to say to me, but I'm hedging my bets by keeping John of the Cross on the sidelines in case I need an alternate at any point, or, more likely, an extra. Can't have too many patron saints.
So give the Patron Saint Generator a spin and let us know which saint will be watching over you during the coming year. And if you get St. Francis of Assisi, I don't want to hear about it.