Friday, May 18, 2012

SMP saints?

Not so much the 'nice guys who finish last' or the 'nice girls who are invisible to all' (though these merit their own accolades of course) but actual saints.

There are of course many definitions of the word 'saint'.
But for the purposes of this post, I shall use the Catholic definition:
Those 'knighted' posthumously by the reigning Pontiff with a godly seal of approval.
Those canonised and beatified by the Pope of the day.

I am quite incapable of keeping religion off this blog.
But that's OK. I forgive myself :-)

One mechanism I have used time and time again is to remind myself that religion is but a tool for salvation.
One of many, in fact.
Once religion becomes mistaken for said salvation, one is done for.

It is not so long ago that I declared on a post here that even if I found out my local bishop was fathering kids left right and centre, I would still be Catholic.

As they say, be careful what you wish for (not that I wished for this).
It is not so much what the priest did that attracted my attention.
It was the reaction to what he had done.
In this and other articles covering this story, the overwhelming sentiment least it wasn't a child.
How tragic for The Church that its reputation has sunk so low.

But I am still Catholic.
Recognising that it's not such a bad deal to be identified as one afterall.
Until The Inquisition comes round again, I guess I am safe.

One thing I like about organised religion is the idea of 'saints'.
In life there are so many pitfalls and traps that it is nice to have mentors.
Living ones are more useful, as you can get feedback from them.
Those of us who don't mind where the mentoring comes from will also check out the legacy of the dead.
They somehow seem more 'spiritual' because they are no longer 'flesh and blood'.
All saints started out as ordinary folk, of course.
The only person apart from God who was 'born without sin' was Our Lady, according to Catholic Dogma.
All the rest of 'em were common or garden sinners like the rest of us.
With the same problems, woes, anxieties, challenges and hassles.

Today's SMP is a mess, sure.
But ours cannot be the only time in history where things seemed uncertain or scary.
Some things are new, like Facebook :-)

But most things are just recycled...with a twist, also known as evolution.

With this in mind, I was not surprised to learn how strikingly similar some of the saints' lives were to ours today.

As long as there are people, there will always be an SMP.

So, the people who have been 'designated' patron saints of certain aspects of the SMP must have had some of their own headaches to deal with.
How did they fare?

And what can we learn from them?

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list.
I touch on Catholic saints because I know more about them than saints of other religions.
Any suggestions/propositions from other religions would of course be very welcome.
No certificate of canonisation necessary :-)
If you say they are a saint, I shall believe you.

1. St. Raphael, patron saint of single people
Actually, St. Raphael is the patron saint of 'happy encounters' or 'happy meetings'. He has also been described as the patron saint of sex (!).
He was one of the Archangels (Michael and Gabriel being the other two recognised in Catholicism).
Having successfully guided Tobias into a marriage with Sarah (a woman who seemed to be saddled with the bad luck of losing seven previous husbands on each of her wedding nights), St. Raphael is also the patron saint of travellers (erm, does this include Spacetravellers, I wonder? :-), the blind, physicians and nurses.
St. Emily, mother of St. Basil the Great is specifically the patron saint of single women. After her kids (many of whom became saints) were grown, she founded a convent and lived like a single woman (that is, as a nun) for the rest of her life.

2. St. Isidore of Seville, patron saint of the internet
I never actually knew before that there was a patron saint of the internet!
But apparently there is a patron saint for just about anything :-)
Given that The Manosphere, the Gendersphere and internet dating are all facets of our current SMP, how appropriate is this saint!
St. Isidore was Archbishop of Seville, and was a prolific writer and academic.
He was made 'Doctor of The Church' by another Pope Benedict (Benedict XIV) in 1722.

3. St. Fiacre, patron saint of STDs
Well, I did say there was a patron saint for just about anything :-)
I am not sure how this saint, an Irish monk, got to be patron saint of this, nor how he also came to be the patron saint of gardeners and taxi-drivers.
*rubs chin*

Specifically, Saints Damien de Veuster and Lazarus of Dives are patron saints of HIV/AIDS.

4. St. Jonathan, patron saint of friendship
For those stuck in LJBF situations, I guess St. Jonathan is the 'go-to' guy :-)
St. Jonathan is of course no other than St. John the Apostle who was a steadfast friend to Our Lord and who was described often as 'the apostle Jesus loved'.

5. St. Agnes/Ines of Rome, patron saint of engaged couples
At 12 years old, Agnes had decided she was only going to marry God (religious hypergamy at its very best!!).
She was also very attractive and had to turn away many suitors, one of whom just wouldn't take no for an answer.
He (Sempronius) wanted Agnes to marry his son. When she refused, he tried every which way he could to get her killed, but it wasn't easy, because Roman law did not permit the execution of virgins. He even tried to get his son to rape Agnes, (so he could now claim she was no longer a virgin) but even that didn't work, because he was struck blind (and she prayed for him to have his sight restored).
Eventually, he did manage to get Agnes killed.
She is also patron saint of virgins, rape victims and Girl Scouts.

6. St. Maria Goretti, patron saint of chastity
Speaking of attempted rape victims, Maria Goretti was another 12-year old who had to fight for her life to preserve her dignity. She was unsuccessful in the sense that she lost her life. But she did not lose her dignity.
She is the patron saint of rape victims, teenage girls, poverty and forgiveness.
Speaking of forgiveness, St. Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of penitent women, with specific reference to how she literally threw herself at Jesus' feet when she asked him for forgiveness.

7. St. Dominic, patron saint of the falsely accused
This is one saint certain factions of The Manosphere would certainly relate to.
St. Dominic, also known as patron saint of Astronomers, was falsely accused of a boyhood prank and got punished for it. He knew who the real culprits were, but refused to 'rat' on them.
This is a patronage he shares somewhat with St. Gerard, who was falsely accused of being the father of a pregnant woman's baby. So, Justin Bieber is not alone then :)
St. Gerard is thus the patron saint of pregnancy and childbirth.
Like St. Dominic, he also refused to plead his innocence, but the woman later confessed to lying.

8. The patron saint of marriage???
Um...bizarrely enough, there appears to be no monopoly on this.
No-one, it seems, wants to own this one :-)
Kinda distressing actually (Hahaha!)
The contenders here are St. Joseph ('cos he was a great husband), St. Raphael (see above), St. Valentine (for obvious reasons) and St. John-Francis Regis, who was a priest, and is also the patron saint of social workers.
St. Edward the Confessor is the patron saint of difficult marriages.
So I guess at some point, every married couple is going to be needing him :-)

9. St. Rita of Cascia, patron saint of 'The Impossible'
I think St. Rita ought to be the patron saint of marriage. She endured a horrible marriage, which began when she was aged 12 (what is it about this age?) but through prayer she was able to turn her abusive husband and two sons to God.
She is also known as the patron saint of (infertile?) women wishing to have children.
St. Gianna Molla is also patron saint of the unborn, amongst other roles.
St. Jude is another patron saint who is known for helping out with 'hopeless causes', so breakups, unrequited love, bitter arguments, loss of attraction, betrayal and divorce are his specialty.

10. St. Joseph, patron saint of The Family
This should surprise no-one. As the head of the Holy Family, he is best placed to be the 'go-to' saint for family harmony.
I think St. Rita again qualifies, as does St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine.

We can't all be saints, but it sure is good to know that the saints all started out like us - ordinary people with ordinary lives and problems.
Helps put things in perspective.


Bellita said...

ST, you just know that I'll have to write another post in response to this! :D

My own approach to seeking a lifelong mate and to my own "Gendersphere" blogging has found its own special patron saints . . . Some of them are obvious choices, while others might be a bit more surprising.

Spacetraveller said...


Can't wait!
It would be great to see YOUR list of saints...

You know, it's funny, because I was thinking about Greek and Roman mythology also, and how their gods and goddesses are actually all about the SMP!

The Greeks and Romans certainly know how to get their priority straight, don't they? LOL.
You are the local expert on this stuff, of course...
I would value your take on this too.

just visiting said...

Well, I don't know about patron Saints, but I have started looking into arch types, and some of the women who embodied them.

In a way, I guess it ties into Bellita's post where she asks about lost feminine arts. If the men are having to figure out the crimson arts, we're left to figure the modern version of the lost feminine arts.

Whether we are looking at steel magnolias, geisha's, the great courtesans,biblical women, mati hari's or stars of the cinema, perhaps each has their own aspect to distil and to design for an enchanting cauldron of femininity.

Spacetraveller said...

@ JV,


Like I said in the OP, some of us really don't mind where the mentoring comes from :-)

I agree that geishas, coutesans, even known seductresses could teach us all a thing or two...

We can take the good from them and leave out the bad.

I mean, someone like Mary Magdalene is a saint not because she was a prostitute but because she sought forgiveness for her sins and stayed good for the rest of her life.
So in the end she had as much virtue as Maria Goretti who refused to be corrupted in the first place.

From both of these, we take the good...

Even in contemporary life there are so many good women around.

Of course they are not out there screaming 'look at me! look at me!' like the not-so great, so they are easily missed...if one is not looking hard enough...

just visiting said...

Exactly. There are some interesting biographies out there. It's easy to think that the only thing that these women had going for them was sex or beauty. Far more was cultivated.