Patron and gift for 2015

A new year means choosing a new patron... which means dusting down the ever-faithful Patron Saint Generator. Over the past few years it has done sterling service, giving me patrons like Paul, Clare and Catherine of Siena. Each year I wonder if this will be the year when I make the acquaintance of an Anglo-Saxon with an unpronounceable name, or a Roman martyr of dubious veracity - and each year I have instead been given a true heavenly heavyweight. Would this year be any different?

So I clicked and I paused and I prayed and I got...

St Elizabeth

Feast day: 5th November

Patronage: pregnant women

It took a few seconds for this gift to sink in - and it is a gift. Twenty years ago this month I became a novice with the Society of the Sacred Heart, and began to study our Constitutions. And as I wrote in a blogpost two years agoI read the End and Mission, with a growing sense of recognition and excitement. When I got to Paragraph 8 something within me leapt for joy - the joy of jubilant, unerring recognition. Here was an old friend, one who had been with me all my life, who was inextricably part of my life, and yet, until this moment, I had never seen her face.

Ever since then, I have had a soft spot for the Visitation and the leap of joy and recognition within Elizabeth. At the time, though, I had just turned thirty-two: I wasn't the older woman but Mary, bursting with energy, passion and the manifold promises of new life, delighting in God and singing my song of joy in his abundant love and inexplicable call. But much later, a few years ago, as we prepared to welcome three new (young!) candidates into our Province, I realised a subtle shift had occurred: now they were Mary and I - in my late forties - was Being Elizabeth and Still Being Elizabeth.

And now, on the threshold of a new year in which I will soon turn fifty-two, I look forward to being "patron-ed" by a woman who, whatever the shifts in my age and perception, has always known and shown me how to recognise the gift and life of God with joy, and affirm that gift in another. A woman, too, whose message to me today is the message she proclaimed to Mary: Blessed is she who believed that God's word to her would be fulfilled.

An assurance to hold on to...

Why not try the Saint's Name Generator for yourself, and see who will be your patron and gift for 2015...?

Image by Sr Claire Joy and used with permission