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Karen Estep almost missed having a patron saint for her Confirmation last year.

For most of my life I have wondered if people like me. I am rather tall for a woman (about 5’10”). I have a deeper voice that can be loud at times. I also have a pretty strong-willed personality. I like to think I am funny and have a tendency to use humor to deflect from other areas of my life. This combination of traits can sometimes leave people wondering what to do with me. I even question myself a lot! So, when it came time to choose a saint for my Confirmation name, I wondered if I would even be able to find one. Time ticked down to literally the week before my Confirmation into the Catholic faith, and I still did not have a saint!

From the time my husband and I started the RCIA process it was very clear the saint that was vying for my husband’s attention was Saint Joseph. Matt’s (my husband) birthday is on Saint Joseph the Worker’s feast day, we used to live in Saint Joseph, my husband does some woodwork on the side, and he had a grandfather named Joseph. Saint Joseph and Matt have just seemed connected.

I just did not feel connected to any saint. I would read a little bit about one and go, “Is this my saint? ... No … ” and it was constantly back to the figurative drawing board. I tried my birthday saint, Mother Teresa—although a great saint, not mine. I tried the Saint Name generator, but none of those saints fit either! At this point, I was just pretty frustrated with the whole idea because I grew up not even knowing anything about saints in general.

I am pretty sarcastic and almost chose St. Lawrence. I truly do love his story and how funny he was with people. However, he was just not "the one."

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux kept being mentioned in various podcasts I was listening to and for a very long time, I thought she was trying to reach out to me. I also kept seeing roses on people's clothing, roses on tv, roses on the internet, and so on—but I was wary to confirm her as my saint because I had heard, “One does not choose Saint Thérèse: Saint Thérèse chooses you.” I was really afraid I was choosing her, not the other way around.




So, on Palm Sunday, my RCIA (now OCIA) group met for a small retreat. We prayed the Stations of the Cross. After every station we had a question to meditate on, and we wrote our answers on rocks. At the end of our time, we put all of our rocks in a bucket of water to represent how our past sins have been washed clean with Jesus. It was an incredibly moving day.

As we moved through this activity I kept feeling nudges to pay attention to Saint Mary Magdalene. I kept feeling myself drawn to her role in the Passion. It amazed me the strength she must have felt watching Jesus through all of it, how she might have comforted Mother Mary, and how Jesus revealed Himself to her first after His Resurrection. Her faith in Jesus never wavered as she ran to tell the apostles about what/whom she had seen.

Jesus loved her so much, even though she was so broken, much like how Jesus loves me. I was drawn to her incredible strength and her massive amount of faith in Jesus. I find both so endearingly beautiful and exactly what I wanted my faith to be like going forward in my life.




And so, my saint is Mary Magdalene. At the Easter Vigil my sponsor proudly proclaimed that as my name! I was so relieved to finally have someone in Heaven and even though having a saint name isn’t required, I’m glad I got to participate in that tradition.

However, I could not shake the feeling that Saint Thérèse was still also calling my name and I still saw roses …everywhere. And so I have unofficially named her my “wing saint.” It wasn’t until about a month later, when I saw this quote from Saint Thérèse about Saint Mary Magdalene on social media, that I truly believed that both saints were helping me out:

Most of all, I imitate the behavior of Mary Magdalene, for her amazing—or rather, loving—audacity which delighted the heart of Jesus, has cast its spell upon mine.

So I have gone from no saints to two strong, wonderful, beautiful saints—and I hope I am making them proud!


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When it came time to choose a saint for my Confirmation name, I wondered if I would even be able to find one. #CatholicMom

If you ever think that you are “too much” for some people sometimes, please remember, you have a purpose, you are truly loved, and in the words of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, “God made you special and He loves you very much!” You have the whole Communion of Saints praying for you, you have a whole community here at Catholic Mom praying for you, and you are very loved.

Copyright 2023 Karen Estep
Images: Canva