Over the weekend I was going through some material I cut from Surviving the Stillness. One scene was the preparation for Samuel and Abigail’s first communion and the choosing of patron saints. I had spent quite a few hours reading through an almanac of saints looking for ones that fit the characters I had come to know so well. In the process some of the Sisters I’d already named came to have new character traits because of the saints who bore their names.
It reminded me of my own patron saint, St. Teresa of Avila. My own devotion to prayer made her work Interior Castle (one of the first books of a theological nature I ever read) resonate in my heart. After reading it and learning more about the Carmelite order I set myself to prayer about becoming a Carmelite nun. While it wasn’t what the Lord was calling me to, the contemplation and prayer became part of my life. I also shared with Teresa seasons when it seemed as if God wasn’t there, but truly it was my own fear of drawing near to His holy presence, as well as times when I’ve drawn near and been given revelation or a word of knowledge that have testified to His presence.
I chose St. Teresa’s name for the sister who teaches Latin, Language and Literature. One because those were my favorite subjects and two because she is the one who gives my main character Abigail the book about saints and in whose class Abigail is in when her secret is first revealed. Just as she instigated my pursuit of something more, Sister Teresa instigates Abigail’s journey in a way.
In the scene I cut, Abigail chose St. Elizabeth of Hungary as her patron saint. It just so happens today is her feast day which inspired this post. St. Elizabeth was a noble and then a queen. The death of her mother changed her and emboldened her faith. She married, had children, but God’s work was always at the forefront of her life. When her husband died suddenly she took vows and committed the rest of her life to serving God through ministering to the sick. Abigail, too, will have a ministry of mercy to the poor, sick, orphaned and widowed. Born into wealth she will struggle her entire life with how she is to accept what God has given her and be a steward of it.
Abigail’s brother, Samuel chose St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. The name means Christ bearer and for Samuel it becomes a mirror of his bearing the burden of being a male heir, responsible for the future of his family’s legacy. As we get to know Samuel better in Book 2 and 3 of the Seasons of Healing Series, we find more similarities: his stature and appearance being formidable and used by God, a dangerous river crossed, and the seeking of someone to serve that will bring him to see both the devil and Jesus for who they really are. I also love that Samuel is a storyteller and his saint is one of those legendary stories that don’t have an actual person for which it is accounted to.
There are other mentions of patron saints in my books that if you read carefully you will find them weaved into the fabric of the characters lives. Even though I have found my place in the Protestant church, I still believe we are to look at the lives of the saints that have gone before us and aspire to be used like them.
What do you think? Who is your patron saint? (There are also saints for Greek Orthodox and the Episcopalian/Anglican Church)