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Courtney Vallejo discusses the idea that while we think we pick the saints we feel connected to, maybe they’re actually seeking us out.

Our sons are preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation, one this year, and one next year. In preparing for the sacrament, we’ve been discussing what a patron saint is and how to “find one.” When I converted to Catholicism at the age of 21, I was a journalism major in college, so I did an internet search (before Google, if you can imagine) for the patron saint of journalism. St. Francis De Sales came up immediately and so I picked him.

I would find out later, after becoming a teacher, that he is also considered a patron saint of teachers. In addition, I’ve always dreamed of writing a book, and he’s also the patron saint of authors. Seems I really hit the jackpot with him! Being a naïve “baby" Catholic, I still lived in a secular reality that I was in charge of my life, and while I still struggle with control, I’ve begun to learn that about God’s design and providence.

Many years ago, my husband and I were blessed to be able to travel to San Giovanni Rotunda to visit Padre Pio’s shrine. My husband has a big devotion to Padre Pio that began simply by being called Pio because his sister couldn’t say Phillip. Padre Pio was canonized right after I was confirmed, and his was the first canonization that I experienced. Our paths with Padre Pio intertwined when we got engaged on his feast day.

When we traveled to San Giovanni Rotunda, we were able to receive confession from one of the visiting priests there. In discussing our trip and devotion with the priest, he told me something I had never thought about. As he smiled, listening to me talk about how we had made this plan for our trip, he gently let me know that Padre Pio had invited me, and in addition had orchestrated the trip. It had never dawned on me (did I mention I’m a control freak) that I hadn’t chosen to come, but had instead been gifted with the invitation. He went on to discuss how saints choose us. 

The idea of being chosen or sought out, by a certain saint has continued to be a topic of conversation for years within my Catholic circles and communities. 

Have you ever had the experience of being chosen or sought out by a certain saint? #catholicmom

As my children began picking their saints for Confirmation, I went right back to my thinking of how we “pick” the saint. Luckily my youngest has taught me my errors. He attends Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) and in our new diocese they confirm in third grade. He’s only in second, but with his older brother preparing to receive Confirmation this year, he’s been listening to the patron saint conversations. Simultaneously, he keeps finding St. Anthony of Padua items in a basket in the hallway at CGS and brings them home for me.

By the second or third week, I finally stopped and started wondering who is St. Anthony really, and why is he seeking me out. I began researching him to see what his connection would be to our family or to me personally. I even had a friend give me a St. Anthony wooden saint, completely out of the blue, during this time.

Rosary, sleeping St. Joseph statue, other saint statues and holy cards

Finally, yesterday, we had a breakthrough. My son came home with a chaplet of St. Anthony, to which I responded “Wow, he’s really trying to connect with us, I wonder why?”

Within moments, after pondering, my son said, “Mom, I think he’ll be my patron saint.” And that was it: case decided. Figuring he’d change his mind by the afternoon, he surprised me when hours later he reminded me that St. Anthony was going to be his patron saint. 

So St. Anthony has chosen him, and as lovers of St. Francis, maybe he chose our family too. Either way, I’m just here to start a conversation about the saints that have chosen you as well!

Do you have stories of saint connections in your life? Have you always had a devotion to that specific saint or do you feel like the saint has come to support you in a certain season of life? Share your stories with us, so we can all further dive into the communion of saints!

Copyright 2021 Courtney Vallejo
Image copyright 2021 Courtney Vallejo. All rights reserved.