Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Saint of Impossible Things

I was raised Catholic.  I'm not sure what I am now; recovering? Seeking? Sure.

I find it endlessly amusing that I finished grammar school at St. Rita's Catholic School. As an adult, I learned St. Rita is considered "The Patron Saint of the Impossible." Translation for non-Catholics: you pray to her for things that seem beyond human ability to fix. Of course this is where I finished out my childhood.

St. Rita Cascia*

I love that Catholics have saints like pharmacists have pills.  Have a problem? The right saint is doled out for an appeal for relief and protection.  If you have lost something, for example, you pray to St. Anthony, The Finder of Lost Things. (Can you imagine this poor man's sainthood, perpetually maintaining the Universe's Lost-and-Found? You'd have to be a saint to put up with the crushing flow of requests.)  If your pet is sick, St. Francis is your man. He expressed his devotion to God through a lifelong love of animals, so you can be assured you have a sympathetic ear when you go to him with a pet problem.  

But St. Rita is special. She is your last ditch, there's no other option, hope is all but lost gal.  To borrow another religious metaphor, she's the Hail Mary play of Saints. I really love that I went to a school named for her, because I'm the kind of person who does her best work in the clutch.  When my back is against the wall, I find my sweet spot, and often pull whatever I am working on through in the final hour.  I think St. Rita would understand that. It's stressful, but success seems even sweeter when it comes with honest sweat and even a touch of fear.

I may no longer be a practicing Catholic, but I have decided that along the way, I can keep some of my past that has worked for me. St. Rita can be my wing gal; we understand each other pretty well.

* "The saint of Cascia belongs to the great host of Christian women who "have had a significant impact on the life of the Church as well as of society" (Apostolic Letter Mulieris dignitatem, n. 27). Rita well interpreted the "feminine genius" by living it intensely in both physical and spiritual motherhood."

~ Pope John Paul II

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