Tuesday, November 1, 2011


(photo borrowed from this site)
All Saints Day is a holy day in many Christian religions, commemorating all saints, both known and unknown.
I was raised a Catholic, though as an adult I've adopted a veritable potpourri of spiritual and philosophical beliefs gathered from the tenets of Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Science Fiction. I guess you could consider me a kind of "spiritual freethinker."

I still like the saints, though. My favorite is probably St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of both animals and nature. He took a vow of extreme poverty after being raised in relative affluence and tried for the rest of his life to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, promoting peace and love in his every encounter. Francis loved all creatures of the earth and took it upon himself to take care of those less fortunate than himself.  He was known to have preached to hundreds of birds to be thankful to God for their wonderful clothes, for their independence, and for God's care.
He was also a pacifist. During the Fifth Crusade, Francis decided to go to Syria to try and convert the Moslems himself. In the middle of a battle, he decided the simplest thing to do would be to go directly to the sultan to make peace and argue his case. After an apparently persuasive conversation, the sultan told him, "I would convert to your religion--which is a beautiful one--but we would both be murdered." 

I think St. Francis was the original hippie. Maybe that's why I feel so drawn to him.

The Catholic church recognizes many other patron saints-- individuals who are assigned as special protectors or advocates for occupations, situations, or places.  I kind of like the idea that there's a special saint you can ask for help with specific problems...I remember reciting this prayer to St. Anthony of Padua (Patron of Lost Items) when I'd misplaced something as a kid:
"Tony, Tony, please look around; {something} is lost and must be found!"
Invariably, after repeating this prayer over and over, the item would miraculously turn up.

So in the spirit of All Saints Day, and the Catholic tradition, here is a short list of Patron Saints for your edification:
Saint Anxieté  Patron of Impossible Deadlines & Foamy Coffee
Saint Bernardine     Patron of Advertising
Saint Concepta     Patron of Brainstorming and Procrastination
Saint Jude     Patron of Lost Causes and Desperate Situations
Saint Martin de Porres Patron of Hairdressers & Social Justice
Saint Clare of Assisi      Patron of Television
Saint Rita        Patron of the Impossible
Saint Honoré  Patron of Bakers, Florists & Pastry Chefs

Click here for more fascinating information on cool patron saints.

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