Ordinarily I would listen to Ave Maria by Gonoud, Schubert or some such today. I love the fact that the first day of the year is devoted to the Mother of God. It is a reminder that salvation began its path on earth through the fiat of a young woman faithful enough to agree to God's plan for her life. Today, however, I am not at home, but with my husband's family in Yorkshire. He and I are taking care of his elderly grandmother whilst his parents are away. We went for a walk in Yorkshire Sculpture Park this morning, and now, as the wind rises and the rain slants horizontally across the valley, I am going to settle down to some crochet.
However, today is a day to think about direction in life: it is time to take the challenge of choosing a Patron Saint for 2015.
Choosing a Patron Saint for the year used to be a custom amongst religious communities for New Year's Day, and perhaps, in places it still is. Modernity has caught up with this ancient practise by means of a Patron Saint Generator by Jennifer Fulweiler.
St Faustina, of Divine Mercy fame, shows that this custom was alive and well in the 1930's with an excerpt from her diary:
“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year’s Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning, during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn’t read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 – the Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament,where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”
Excerpt from “Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of St. Faustina”
It appears that I forgot to pick a Patron for the Year 2014, I must have been preoccupied - Mr Cloister proposed on New Years' Day. My Patron for 2013 was St. John of God - the one who would do good on impulse. This year, 2015, my Patron will be Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati , a Dominican devoted to the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Catherine of Sienna, one who supported the poor and Catholic Social Teaching, opposing Facism and all other political systems that oppressed the weak. I am sure to read more about him as the Year goes on, but that is a good start - I will let you know what other adventures his intercession brings!