. . .would not be half as awesome as Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha.
I have a confession.
We’re all Catholics here so I can do that, right?
When I first made the conscious decision that converting to Catholicism was what I was going to do, one of the things I was geeking out about was the fact that I could pick Confirmation saints and have an0ther name. Psychologists, try to shrink me if you must but – I just really, really like names. I’m a little bit obsessed with the history of names. I had multiple name books when I was younger that I read. For fun.
We have already established in previous confessions that I am vain. More than a little so. So while I was excited about the name picking, I did not want to be Therese #594820482042333. I knew I wanted to feel an affinity to the saint that I chose to be my patron, and I was having a hard time feeling an affinity for the virginal martyr saints. Did I want to strive to be like them?
Well, most of the time!
. . .
St. Catherine of Siena was the first saint whose intercession I connected with. She was a total introvert with a gazillion siblings. . .or. . .25. . .which I definitely related with. She wrote and was involved with politics. Also things I related to. And her prayers helped me through much of the initial studying and turmoil that came with my decision. But I knew she wasn’t my Baptismal or Confirmation saint.
So while looking for other saints named Catherine I could befriend – because I really like the name Catherine – I found Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
A) I have more fun saying Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha than almost any other phrase I know.
B) She was Native American, and I have a significant amount of Native American blood.
C) She was the closest thing to Pocahontas I could find. I like Pocahontas. A lot.
Don’t judge my reasoning – we have to start somewhere.
So I made a new prayer friend. And through her, I began to understand a little bit more about the Communion of the Saints and what a wonderful, wonderful gift that is to us.
Choosing a name started as an exercise in cultural Catholicism. But the process helped me discern my own life goals, what I wanted to become, the character I wanted to have facing adversity. . .and it gave me a tangible representation of, “If any man is in Christ he is a new creation – the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.”
As Baptism and Confirmation grew nearer, “my” saints chose me – St. Gianna Beretta Molla and St. Thomas More.
I am not Bey0nce, and Confirmation was not my “I Am Sasha Fierce” moment. I’m not introducing myself as Kassie-Leigh-Gianna-Thomas-Rutherford. But the tangible reminder that something is different. Something has changed – has been powerful as I walk out the first few months of my conversion. Do I always LISTEN to the reminder? No. But I can’t say I wasn’t warned.
And in the meantime, St. Catherine and Blessed-Kateri-Tekakwitha (!) are still praying for me.