October in the Catholic Church is like harvest time for the garden: look! Here’s some awesomeness! Ooh, here too! Look at this one! I love this! There’s just so much! It is absolutely chock-full of feast days for a great many wonderful role models that were real, authentic people. And if I were the type of woman I want to be (meaning I would actually celebrate these feast days in a meaningful way), then I absolutely would; but as it is right now I have very little time & energy to do more than just note them on the calendar as I’m doing the dishes and checking the school snack calendar that hangs right above it.
But there’s always next October!
So let’s review. October 1st: St. Therese. I’ve written about her here before, and in thinking about her life what I love the most is how hard she worked at refining away all of her selfish, (and self-described) bratty tendencies. There’s hope for me yet!
October 4th: St. Francis. So I’ve never read Harry Potter and only saw the first movie about 15 years ago, but as I remember it, there are times when a wizard can conjure up a feeling or an animal or something and it appears as a symbol of what they want or need or whatever. And if I were to have such powers and wave my wand and conjure up such a symbol for myself, it would be St. Francis. When I was in college and thought about becoming a nun all the time, I went on a discernment retreat at a Franciscan convent and loved it. There is so much that is attractive to me about his philosophy of living and life. I might have more seriously pursued it, though, had I heard about these ladies before deciding to not go that route with my life.
October 5th. St. Faustina Kowalska. Mystic. Stigmatic. Vessel through which the (much needed and) important message of MERCY was directly given to us. MERCY. It’s there for you, right now. Yeah, you.
October 7th: Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Back when I was in college and part of a campus ministry retreat team, I was put in charge of saying the rosary every day at 2pm (and inviting the rest of the campus to join me. I was usually alone.) I learned how to recite the rosary very quickly, and I didn’t appreciate the calmness it brings to me as an adult. When my babies were little and I had long times to nurse them before bed I’d pray it, and I mostly didn’t fall asleep myself. I’d highly recommend this for those with anxious, fearful minds that like to obsess mercilessly over things for hours (or days) at a time.
October 15th: St. Theresa of Avila. What I love best about St. Theresa was that she was a reformer, and the way she reformed was she returned (and encouraged others to) return to the basics of Jesus’ message: help the poor and the suffering. Pray. Serve, serve, serve. And become poor (at least in spirit) in order to remember the most least among us.
*(There are seriously so many saints that we honor in October, so I’m going to skip some in order to go to bed at a decent hour.)*
October 22nd: St. John Paul II. Guys. Guysssss. I have seen a saint with my own eyes. Up close, and by up close I mean like a quarter of a mile away on an enormous Jumbotron, in an even bigger field that held nearly one million other young people my age. But he was there and I was there and distance means nothing at all really! I stood during his homily for World Youth Day in Rome in the year 2000 and I did absolutely nothing but cry, because there really is nothing else you can do when you’re in the presence of an actual saint. So.
October 28th: St. Jude Thaddaeus. You know this one. Patron saint of desperate, lost causes. He was one of the original 12 apostles but he was largely ignored by the faithful as someone to turn to since he sort of had the same name as, you know, that other guy, and so people didn’t want to get confused and end up praying to the man who betrayed Jesus and started all the trouble in the first place. I myself have prayed many, many novenas to St. Jude for things and homeboy does not disappoint. I mean, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup this year, so there you have it.
There are many, many more saints to celebrate this month and if you’re looking for ways to honor their days in your home (the way I want to every day but never get to, because – I’ll keep it 100 – there is laundry to do and weddings to attend and politics to fret over) check out Hayley’s fantastic ideas over at Carrots For Michaelmas.
Until next time!