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    Sunday, August 08, 2004

    Saintly Favors: One of my patients told me recently that she's been praying to Saint Odelia to preserve her eyesight. She said it in a sheepish way, as if she were afraid I'd think less of her for it. She doesn't know about me and St. Jude.

    I've never been one to pray to saints. It's too close to polytheism for the Baptist in me. But, I once had a brush with saintly intervention that has left me less skeptical. One winter day in Syracuse, my husband brushed the snow from his pants while clearing his car. His ring flew off his finger. We searched and searched for it to no avail. We were newly married, and I attached a great deal of importance to that ring, so its loss made me very sad. Every day before I got in my car, I'd scour the ground for it. Sometimes, one of my friends would also stop and help me look. No luck. Spring came, the snow melted, and still no ring. Summer went by, and my morning ritual continued, but still no ring. Then, one day in the fall, as my husband and I were getting in the car, he stopped, bent over, and came back up with his wedding ring. How we overlooked it all those months is beyond me. When I told my friend about our good luck, she smugly told me it wasn't luck. She'd been praying to St. Jude for us. Coincidence? Maybe. But after that, I found new comfort in the picture of St. Jude hanging from the resident call-room wall at the hospital. (St. Jude also has his own heart valve, but it's named after the company that makes it.)

    Praying to saints still doesn't come easy to me, but the few times I have, it's worked. To Mary on her feast day, for the safe delivery of one of my children. And to Saint Nicholas for an ill child. After that, it would be ungracious of me not to believe at least a little bit. Even if the research suggests that prayer is more like the fairies in Peter Pan, it works if you believe.

    UPDATE: Another experience with saints and wedding rings:

    I got a kick out of your St. Jude story - but I thought it was St. Anthony for lost things. I too lost my wedding ring. Scour the front yard where I knew I lost it. No luck.

    Later a co-worker said she would pray to St. Anthony - St. Anthony please come around something's lost and can't be found.

    It sounds too much like magic to me, but . . . that night when I got home right near the front steps was the ring in plain view.

    My wife and I often joke about the "fourth dimension" to explain those items that go missing and then mysteriously show up just where you were sure you looked.

    The world can be wondrous in its complexity.

    Yes, indeed, it can.

    posted by Sydney on 8/08/2004 07:20:00 AM 0 comments


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