On January, 1, 2015, I stumbled across a Saint's Name Generator shared on Jennifer Fulwiler's website. A big fan of the Saints and always looking to add to my knowledge of our heavenly friends; I decided to give it a whirl. The instructions were to pray while the program worked to find you a saint, then click on the Show Me My Saint button when we were ready.
Up popped the name: St. Faustina.
I remember being disappointed - she was already part of my life. Perhaps we'd grown apart a bit but Faustina had been my go-to intercessor during our very long and sometimes arduous adoption process. I wanted someone new and -- I am embarrassed to admit - more exciting. The generator offered a do-over and I took it. I can not even tell you who the next Saint option was - clearly I was still not feeling moved; and, disappointed with the whole exercise, I closed it and moved on with 2015. Saintless.
Or so I thought...
Fast forward to the end of February. My parish was hosting a Treasures of the Church exhibit. I am a big (self-proclaimed) Catholic Dork, who adores all the unique traditions and elements that make up the Catholic Church including the veneration of Saint relics -- there was no way I would have missed it! After the fascinating presentation by Fr. Carlos Martins in our church and before we trekked over to the exhibit in the Parish Center, Fr. Martins explains how he has seen a very interesting phenomenon occur with the Saints whose relics are contained in the collection. He said, "be open to one of the Saints to make a deeper connection with you, to reach out (so to speak) to you."
[Tweet "What happens when your patron #saint chooses you? @reconciledtoyou explains."]
My friend and I, never one to be open to a cool mystical experience, headed over to "find" our new friend.
There were rows and rows of tables with blue tablecloths and hundreds of thecas (the proper term I learned that evening for what I previously referred to as 'mini monstrance') holding tiny pieces of bones, teeth, or clothing of some of our most beloved Saints. I stopped and prayed with Sts. Jean Vianney, Catherine of Siena, Anthony of Padua (while with his relic I had to make the joke -- yes, out loud -- "bet Fr. Martins never misplaces this one,") as well as the relics of all the Apostles. I passed my friend at one point and whisper, "I feel like I am speed dating." We end up meeting again at the end of one of the long rows, directly in front of St. Faustina. Kathy motioned for me to venerate the relic first. I pick up the small theca (see pic inset) and blessed myself with it, then moved to touch my crucifix to the small glass window shielding Faustina's relic.
my necklace becomes COMPLETELY entangled in the thecla. My friend, is laughing too hard to assist me, and I am in too much shock (and embarrassment) to take command of my fingers. People are reverently around me praying, some crying, others quietly venerating, and there I AM completely entangled with this shiny mini monstrance! We finally compose ourselves to remove my new friend, happily because at one point I thought this trusting young saint was going to have to come home with me. A quite frowned upon behavior Fr. Martins made us clearly aware of before the venerating began - no borrowing or procuring a relic for your own!
Relieved and back on the venerating track, I separated from my friend. A few hours later I receive a text from Kathy with the picture I've included in this post, pointing out the only better one would have been me ENTANGLED in it! Apparently my earthly friends share my heavenly ones' sense of humor!
It was not until I was editing an interview with Pete Socks (The Catholic Book Blogger) for an episode of A Seeking Heart that I remembered the January 1st Saint Name Generator activity and dear St. Faustina's random selection! Furthermore, all this revelation came just days after Pope Francis' announced the Church would celebrate A Year of Mercy beginning in December, 2015. Clearly a beautiful "godincidence" (as there are no coincidence when we open our hearts to God); I've been more than happy to add St. Faustina to my Saint Posse; I'm expecting a long-lasting friendship!
Copyright 2016 Allison Gingras 2016
About the Author
Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." Her ministry focuses on the grace of prayer, Scripture, and sacrament. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization and hosts A Seeking Heart podcast.