So many feasts to learn about and to celebrate with our children! Some of these have just passed but we take note and pray to them in our needs. The ones that are coming up, if they have special significance in your life (what saint doesn’t have special significance, right?), then do something singular on that day…or, at the very least, teach the saint to your children!
St. Felicitas of Rome (July 10)
Since she was supposed to have been the mother of seven sons, and is invoked for the bearing of male children, it is a good thing for us that my birthday is July 11 instead of July 10, or no doubt we should not have even our one daughter. You can see the powerful influence of her octave, even so.
St. Christopher (July 25). Being such a big saint, he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He is the patron of archers, market carriers, fruit dealers, motorists, and Christopher David Newland, and is invoked against sudden death, storms, hail, toothache, impenitence at death, and, last of all, he is the patron of fullers, who are weavers – and, as I said, our town is full of weavers.
St. Anne (July 26)
St. Anne is very special with us because she found our present house and land when we were being evicted elsewhere.
She is the patroness of old-clothes dealers, seamstresses, laceworkers, housekeepers, carpenters, turners, cabinetmakers, stablemen, and broommakers, and she is invoked against poverty and to find lost objects.
Although the martyrology doesn’t say so, she must be the patroness of Grandmothers, and we love her for that because cause we could never get along without our grandmothers – and both have Ann in their names.
The children love to recall that if she was still there when the Christ Child learned to talk, He called her Grandmother. The nicest of her tradition that her name is Anne and her husband’s Joachim; and now and then a non-Catholic will challenge the source of the “St. Anne” who we say is the Virgin’s mother.
But our Lady had a mother and father, and they must have had names, and it is as suitable to call them the traditional names of Anne and Joachim as it is to call them anything else. It is only the name that is open to challenge. The role is not. Unless, of course, they wish to propose that the Blessed Virgin was miraculously produced without the conventional parents.
Even Catholics think that’s going too far. They stubbornly insist that she must have had parents; and they love her parents because they brought her into the world. We think the best way to celebrate in honor of St. Anne is to do something lovely for the grandmothers.
Little girls might dress their best dolls as the tiny Mary this day and lay them in flower-bedecked cradles. We borrow words in her praise from the Greek liturgy this day, to add to our night prayers:
Hail, spiritual bird, announcing the spring time of grace!
Hail, sheep, mother of the ewe lamb, who by a word, conceived the Word, the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world!
Hail, blessed earth, whence sprang the branch that bore the divine Fruit!
O Anne, most blessed in God, grandmother of Christ our Lord, who didst give to the world a shining lamp, the mother of God; together with her intercede that great may be the mercy granted to our souls.
Let us cry to holy Anne with cymbals and psaltery. She brought forth the mountain of God and was borne up to the spiritual mountains, the tabernacles of Paradise.
St. Lawrence (August 10)
Now you remember him: he was roasted on a gridiron. Guess whom he is patron of? Cooks.
Let no one say that the Fathers who wrote the martyrology or assigned the patrons didn’t have a grand and grisly sense of humor.
He is also invoked against lumbago and fire (you’d better put his name on the fire extinguisher along with St. Florian’s) and for the protection of vineyards. He is also the patron of restaurateurs.
St. Raymond Nonnatus (August 31)
He is called “nonnatus” because he was not “born,” but delivered by Caesarian section. Since so many of our friends have their babies this way, we feel it is important to have his friendship.
His mother died at his birth but he ended up a cardinal and a saint; so you see, God does take care of His little ones.
He is the patron of midwives and is invoked for women at childbirth, birth, and for little children.
St. Giles, or Egidius (September 1)
He is invoked against cancer, sterility in women, the terrors of the night (anyone have nightmares at your house?), and madness, and is the patron of cripples and spur makers. (Incidentally, the Compline hymn is a beautiful going-to-bed song for children who have nightmares: “. . . far off let idle visions fly, no phantom of the night molest.”)
There is a famous legend of St. Giles and a doe that was his friend and lived in a cave with him by the banks of the Rhone in France. One day, while running through the woods, the doe was pursued by a pack of hounds and hunters.
She raced back to the cave and disappeared inside, and the hunter leading the pack shot an arrow after her.
A moment later, Giles appeared with the arrow in his knee and the blood flowing freely. The hunter was filled with remorse, introduced himself as the king, Flavius, and offered to bring the royal physicians to treat the poor knee.
“No,” said St. Giles, “it is quite all right with me if God has permitted me to be crippled like this. He probably has some reason.”
As indeed He had, for Giles, bearing his infirmity with sweet patience for the love of God, became the patron and friend of all who share such infirmities with him.
“Holy water is water blessed by a priest with solemn prayer, to beg God’s blessing on those who use it, and protection from the powers of darkness. Have some holy water in your home. A holy water font is part of the equipment of a complete Catholic home. Use this powerful sacramental to help you keep clear of sin, and strengthen your desire to serve God in the name of the holy sign of the cross. Amen.” – Fr. Arthur Tonne, 1950
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Lovely, Graceful Rosaries!