Sunday, 5 February 2012

This Saint Will Change Your Life

If you’re reading this, then August the 28th should mean something to you.

It doesn’t?


Ok, well make a note on your diary or wall calendar for this August then. The thing is, if you’re reading this, chances are you write a blog yourself – no, I’m not saying that ALL readers of blogs are bloggers, but many of you / us are.

And I got to thinking about this the other day. With my work and family commitments, my children’s busy social lives (mine is pants btw, non-existent if you’re wondering), I spend less time blogging now than I did when I started over 5 years ago. Throughout the day, I still think “ooh, that’s a good topic, I’ll type that up tonight”, but more often than not, either something else comes up (boo, hiss, bad blogger!) or I’ve forgotten the idea by the time the evening comes around.

Does that happen to you? Have ideas of yours been lost to the mists of time, due to a busy schedule or an unreliable memory? Or are you too conscientious to let the opportunity of a terrific post pass you by?

Perhaps you’re more like me, but I am here to tell you that you do not need to worry about it – you, and I, have a saviour (stay with me, stay with me) and that saviours’ name is St. Augustine – the patron saint of bloggers, feast day August 28th.

No, I’m not kidding!

Well, not according to Thomas J. Craughwell at any rate.

Thomas, who has written about saints for the Wall Street Journal, has put together a very lovely looking book entitled This Saint Will change Your Life, as per the title of this post, and he very helpfully lists a Saint for just about every walk of life, occupation or situation. (ok, not everyone – more of which I’ll come to later). Some of the jobs listed are your everyday kind of job; for example, actors (St. Genesius), social workers (St. Louise de Marillac) and photographers (St. Veronica).

He also lists some of the less everyday; for example, if you are a Queen, your saint would be St. Hedwig. If you are homeless, you'll be delighted to know that your saint is St. Benedict Joseph Labre (come on Benedict, sort it aht!) and if you are a lumberjack, you should be aware that your prayers are floating upwards in the direction of St. Simon the Apostle.

Mr Craughwell, very kindly, also lists some of the downright unusual, namely saints for appendicitis, con men (they must be delighted), hangovers, impossible situations and vampire hunters. In fact, there are 300 saints featured, all on their own gold edged page, each giving the feast day for that particular saint, a very thorough description of how that saint came to be associated with the group they stand for, as well as a very beautiful saints 'holy' card - a colourful depiction of the saint going about his or her business. The year of their births and deaths are also mentioned which makes for surprisingly interesting reading - some saints lived very short lives.

Brilliantly, some of us will be lucky enough to have feet in more than one camp. I was particularly pleased to see that motorcyclists have St. Columbanus looking out for them (not all that carefully, it has to be said) as well as teachers being under the watchful eye of St. John Baptist de la Salle. (Oh, hang on, there's a saint for 'procrastinators' too, I'm in three camps! No, wait; four - the physically unattractive have a saint too. Dammit!!)

Although you may think I'm bound to say this - thanks to my occasional rambling on the subject of faith - I must say I would definitely consider giving this book as a gift, and can think of several people who would appreciate it. I'm pretty sure you could give this beautiful book as a gift too. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want to let their favourite pawnbroker know that they have a saint, eh?

Or, if you're a lover of bacon, streaky or otherwise, I'm sure you'd want to offer up a little prayer to St. Anthony of the Desert, the patron saint of Pigs (no, I’m not kidding), before you squirt HP sauce all over one side of your white bloomer bread and get stuck in, while simultaneously stirring your strong mug of tea, served in a white china mug, natch.

There’s no getting away from the fact, however, that this is a very handsome book. It’s chunky, quite heavy thanks to the quality paper it’s printed on but smaller than A5 and has sat quite happily in my bag while I ferried it to and from work. The reason I took it to work was to lend the book out to colleagues, leave it lying around and wait for the feedback; I even dropped it off to the Head teacher to see what she made of it.

Everybody, bar no-one, commented on “what a lovely book” it was, each of them telling me what their favourite saints were, usually stopping for a chat and laugh about some of the more random ones.

(trust me, I’ve only scratched the surface of them, there’re some corkers!!)

In fact, I’ve had this book for some time now, partly because so many people ‘borrowed it’ from me.

So, to sum up this review, I’ll say this;

Would I buy this book?

Yes, I definitely would.

For myself or as a gift?

More likely I’d buy it to give to someone else actually, but would be more than happy if I received it as a gift myself. The price on the (soft) cover is $19.95 which at today’s exchange rate (on is £12.61. Although I’m sat here looking at the book and willing my hands to type “too expensive”, I can’t; I think it’s an ok price for the book – it really is a quality looking and feeling item.

I’ve just taken the liberty of having a quick look on Amazon, and I see that it is available for 2 pence LESS than I’ve just reported at £12.59 which I s’pose is a bargain of sorts!

Buy a copy of this book and stick it on your favourite bookshelf at home. You will either enjoy reading it yourself or, in a worst case scenario, it would make a terrific emergency gift for that unexpected guest / visitor. I really can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t enjoy flicking through the pages to see who might be looking out for them (or not!)

Personally, I’ll be telling my parents to keep the 14th of March free so we can get together. It’s the feast day for St. Matilda, born around 895, died 968, the Saint for, and I quote, “Parents with Disappointing Children”.


ps; the lovely M, who loves books just as much as me, picked up the book, commented how lovely it was, turned to the index and then tossed it down on the sofa, huffing as she did so. When I looked, I realised why - although paratroopers, donkeys, asses, mules and those who have succumbed to sexual temptation all have saints, apparently dentists do not.

She wasn't impressed!

Addendum; apparently, there is a saint for dentists - well, teeth - but this was not mentioned in the book. This was the reason for her very out-of-character huff.

Here endeth the post.

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