Whenever I teach a confirmation class, one of my favorite parts is helping the kids choose their confirmation Saint.
This Saint is the one whose name they receive at confirmation and will have a special relationship with for the rest of their lives. When I chose my Saint (St. Catherine of Sienna), I didn’t really understand this very well, or more likely I just didn’t care. I liked her name, and I wanted to have it somewhere in mine. When someone asked me which St. Catherine it was, I just picked one. Not the most thoughtful process, for sure.
Now I understand a lot more about the Saints and how this whole confirmation thing works. These aren’t just namesakes, these are prayer partners, role models, and warriors who will fight for you, pray for you, and help you grow in the virtues that were important in their lives. All this, even if you had no idea what you were doing.
As I help my group choose their Saints, I always share the story of a young woman in 0ne of my classes who chose St. Genesius because he was the patron saint of comedians. She was really funny, and he was perfect for her. Keep in mind, she was not the most devout person in our group. In fact, you might call her a skeptic. But she came every week and wrestled with her questions and doubts with us.
A couple of years later, at midnight on New Year’s Eve, she fell into a major epileptic seizure – the first of many. Without a symptom before she was 18, she was suddenly struggling with a significant form of epilepsy. Needless to say, this was tough for her and her family.
Later that year, she called to tell me that she was helping her brother choose his confirmation Saint and looked up St. Genesius again.
Turns out that he’s also the patron saint of people with epilepsy.
She picked him because she was a comedian, but he chose her because he would be there for her in her epilepsy.
What a message of comfort and hope in such a scary time for her.
If you haven’t thought about your patron saint in a while, look them up and see what they were like. You might be surprised at what you find. I know that St. Catherine has turned out to be perfect for me, and inspires the work that I do and the life that I live. She was a prolific writer who encouraged the faith of others. She wasn’t afraid to step into the hard things and say what needed to be said, but always with love.
I’d love to hear about your confirmation Saint. Who did you choose and why? Now that you look back, how is that Saint perfect for you?