With the flip of the calendar, the New Year finds many of us making resolutions for a vast array of self-improvement projects. As one who is always a New Year's optimist and who has a deep love for our Catholic Church's Communion of Saints, I'd also like to recommend that January is the perfect month during our Year of Faith to dedicate ourselves to a relationship with new spiritual intercessors and role models for the New Year.
If you’re looking to make a connection with a new patron saint, here are a few suggestions for choosing a spiritual companion for 2013:
- Consider forming a prayer relationship and researching the life of one of our newly canonized American saints. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (our first Native American saint) and Saint Mother Marianne Cope (a nineteenth century Franciscan nun and missionary to those suffering from Hansen’s disease in Hawaii) were both canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 21, 2012. Families with connections to the Philippines may also wish to learn more about the life of Saint Pedro Calungsod, a Filipino teenage martyr who was also canonized in October.
- Choose a saint to serve as intercessor for your resolutions. We know many saints as intercessors for particular causes. As you make your personal New Year’s resolutions, research a saintly companion to journey with you and intercede on your behalf this year. For example, those looking to exercise more this year may want to pray through the intercession of St. Sebastian, patron saint of athletes. St. Martha, the patroness of dieticians, could be a perfect spiritual friend to those looking to make healthy living choices in the New Year. Personally, I’ll be developing a deeper knowledge of and prayer relationship with St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers, as I embark on new projects this year. Click here to discover the perfect patron saint for your 2013 resolutions.
- Better know your family’s existing patrons. If you’ve never done so before, make this the year that you truly come to know the special saints who are related to your life. Were you or your children named for a saint? Who did you choose as your Confirmation patron and why? Who are the patron saints or your parish and your diocese? Consider “adopting” one saint per month as a family and studying their lives and legacies. Remember to actively include intercessory prayer through this saint in your daily devotions.
If walking in the company of the saints is new for you, here are some terrific resources to help you in 2013:
- Saints.SQPN.com – My “go to” resource for anything having to do with saints. Discover their biographies, patronages, quotes, image galleries and much more.
- Waltzing Matilda – A fabulous compendium of saint coloring pages free for use by individuals, families and educational groups.
- Saints for Sinners – A different take on religious medallions and a fun way to share your faith.
- eVotions Apps – Use smartphone technology to pray novenas through the intercession of special saints.
- Saint of the Day – Franciscan Media offers both an interactive website and a great iPhone app to help you learn each day about a new saint.
- OSV Saint Apps – Our Sunday Visitor recently launched three great new apps to help you: Saint Names for Your Baby, Patron Saints, and Confirmation Names.
As we prepare to embark on all of the potential held in store for us in 2013, I will leave you with the words of St. Anthony of Padua, who said:
“The saints are like the stars. In his providence Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they may not shine before others when they might wish to do so. Yet they are always ready to exchange the quiet of contemplation for the works of mercy as soon as they perceive in their heart the invitation of Christ.”
Many blessings to you this year as you ponder His invitation in your life!