Patron Saints of the Workplace, Round 2
Almost two years ago, I wrote a (somewhat facetious) post about patron saints for the office. Since then, I’ve come across some other great saints and it would be a shame not to share their awesome…
For the non-Catholics in the audience: if a Catholic person leads an exemplary life and has several miracles attributed to them after they die, they are canonized and then they are referred to as saints forever after (the process is a bit more complicated, but you get the idea). There are even “patron” saints that are advocates for specific occupations or situations. For instance, St. Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians and St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. There don’t seem to be many saints specific to modern office workers, so I’ve improvised a bit.
Let’s start with one classic fellow. Thomas More was an English intellectual born in 1478 and executed in 1535. He was one of the most respected figures among Renaissance thinkers and even occasionally held some power as advisor to the king and the chancellor. Unfortunately, King Henry VIII was ruler towards the end of his life. Yes, that Henry. When Thomas refused to approve of the plan to dump wife #1 and declare himself pope, Henry had him executed for treason. Thomas More is a great saint for many reasons, but my favorite is the fact that he was an attorney that was also an all-around good guy. Nowadays, the law gets a pretty bad rap. There is no end to the “evil, morally bankrupt lawyer” jokes. Lawyers, you have a patron saint who was highly ethical in every way and achieved the elusive work-life balance. He had a wife, Jane, a son, and three daughters whom he educated in various subjects since education for women was uncommon in the 16th century. When Jane died, he remarried and became a second father to his stepdaughter. And when he had to be away from home, he still found time to maintain strong relationships by writing often to each family member! What a hero.
St. Christopher, probably
Next up is St. Christopher. There’s far less known about this saint beyond various myths dating as far back as the 800s AD. He was a really big guy (over seven feet tall, the stories say). At some point in his adult life, he went on a quest to find the greatest king of all. After several tries (Are You My Mother-style), he came across a small boy that asked him for help crossing a river. When Christopher picked the child up, he was shocked to find that he was the heaviest thing he’d ever carried. Surprise!—the boy was actually a vision of Jesus. From then on, Christopher preached the word of God and was eventually martyred because his preaching inspired so many people to become Christians. For centuries, this legendary man has been venerated as patron of transportation and travel. Shoot him a little prayer when you’re stuck in traffic, suffering through a red eye, or just anxiously awaiting a package.
For our final addition, we turn to a recent saint: Maximilian Kolbe. This modern-day martyr is particularly close to my heart, since he was the patron of my K-8 school and is the confirmation saint of CSR’s administrative assistant. Maximilian was a Polish priest in the early 20th century. He ended up dying in a concentration camp during the Nazi holocaust—definitely read about that story in this excellent book. Though I could suggest him as the patron saint of hanger (since he was condemned to death by starvation), I already chose Catherine of Siena for that. I think he should be the patron saint of IT problems. For years, Max ran several magazines and started a radio station, all devoted to spreading the faith. Despite his poor health and government pressure, his publications gained momentum. From his old-school printing press to the entire monasteries that still distribute devotional materials, his efforts seem to be continually blessed. Anecdotes claim that his response to any technological issues was to blame the devil’s tail for getting stuck in the presses and say a quick prayer. And wouldn’t you know it, things would start working again once the devil’s tail was “removed.” So next time there’s a mysterious scanner malfunction or paper jam, ask St. Maximilian to exorcise demonic appendages…and maybe call IT services just in case.