January, 1, 2015, I stumbled across a Saint's Name Generator on Jennifer Fulwiler's website. A big fan of the Saints (those in Heaven not those in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome), I decided to give it a whirl.
The instructions were to pray while the program worked to find you a saint, then click on the Show Me My Saint button when we were ready. Up came - St. Faustina.
I remember being disappointed - she was already part of my life, well at least she had been during the very long and sometimes arduous adoption process. I wanted someone new - and yep, I even thought, more exciting. The generator offered a do-over and I took it. I can not tell you who the next option was - disappointed with the whole exercise, I closed it and moved on with 2015. Saintless.
Or so I thought...
Fast forward to the end of February. My parish was hosting a Treasures of the Church exhibit. Of course I attended, I am a big Catholic Dork who adores all the unique traditions and elements that make up the Catholic Church - including the veneration of Saint relics! After the fascinating presentation by Fr. Carlos Martins in our church and just before we trekked over to the exhibit in the Parish Center, Fr. Martins explains how he has seen a very interesting phenomenon occur with the Saints whose relics are contained in the collection. He said, be open to one of the Saints to make a deeper connection with you, to reach out (so to speak) to you. My friend and I, never one to miss a cool mystical experience, headed over to find our new friend.
There are rows and rows of tables with blue tableclothes and hundreds of thecas (the proper term I learned that evening for what I previously referred to as 'mini monstrance') holding tiny pieces of bones, teeth, or clothing of some of our most beloved Saints. I stop and pray with Sts. Jean Vianney, Catherine of Sienna, Anthony of Padua (while with his relic I had to make the joke - yes out-loud - "bet Fr. Martins never misplaces this one"), as well as the relics of all the Apostles. I passed my friend at one point and whisper, "I feel like I am speed dating." We end up meeting again at the end of one of the long rows, directly in front of St. Faustina. Kathy motions for me to venerate the relic first. I pick up the small theca (see pic inset) and bless myself with it, then I grab for my crucifix to touch it to the small glass window shielding Faustina's relic.
my necklace becomes COMPLETELY entangled in the theca. My friend, is laughing too hard to assist me, and I am in too much shock (and embarrassment) to take command my of my fingers. People are reverently around me praying, some crying, others quietly venerating, and there I AM completely wrapped in Faustina! We finally compose ourselves to remove my new friend, at some point I thought she was going to have to come home with me - a frowned upon behavior that Fr. Martins made us clearly aware. No borrowing or procuring a relic for your own!
Relieved and back on the venerating track, I separated from my friend. A few hours later I receive a text from Kathy with the picture I've included in this post, pointing out the only better one would have been me ENTANGLED in it! Apparently my earthly friends, share my heavenly ones sense of humor!
It was not until I was editing an interview with Pete Socks (The Catholic Book Blogger) for an upcoming A Seeking Heart episode that I remembered the January 1st Saint seeking activity and St. Faustina's selection! Furthermore all this revelation came just days after Pope Francis' announced the Church would celebrate A Year of Mercy beginning in December.
For someone with a ministry named Reconciled To You ... I'd say having Faustina in my Saint Posse, not only goes beyond coincidence, but I expect us to have a most remarkable, and long lasting, friendship!