appreciation, Bible, experience, grandparents, Lois, perspective, Roman Catholic, St. Ann, St. Joachim, St. Paul, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, Timothy, tradtions, wisdom
Long ago when I was baptized the rule was that only saints’ names were acceptable for Roman Catholic babies. Because it was also understood that “the faithful” were to learn about the Bible from the clergy and not their own study (although we were to have a “family Bible” in our homes), not too many people were aware that Lois was mentioned by St. Paul in passing. Did you know she was the grandmother of Paul’s young companion, Timothy? Well, in 1948, Lois was a surprise name choice of my mother so my middle name became more important. It seems ironic now because the name my parents chose was Ann (not Anne, thank you very much!) whom legend says was the grandmother of Jesus, mother of his mother, Mary. So today, the feast of St. Ann (and her husband Joachim, a relatively recent addition to the Church calendar), seems to be about grandparents – mine and yours as well as those of Jesus and Timothy.
I know I have always been proud to carry the name attributed to the grandmother of Jesus and honor her, as tradition would have it, my “patron saint.” I found a lovely comment on http://www.americancatholic.org this morning that seems to fit this feast. I offer it as a personal reflection for all of us and a reminder of our heritage and what we would hope to pass on to those who follow us in life.
This feast reminds grandparents of their responsibility to establish a tone for generations to come. They must make the traditions live and offer them as a promise to little children. But the feast has a message for the younger generation as well. It reminds the young that older peoples’ greater perspective, depth of experience and appreciation of life’s profound rhythms are all part of a wisdom not to be taken lightly or ignored.
Gosh Sister Lois. I am familiar with a Catholic name in need of a saint. When I was born in 1956 I was named Bonnie Jean, as a first name, but Bonnie was a Scottish adjective for “handsome or pretty” and not a saints name. When I attended St. Patrick’s School I had my saint identified in second grade. St. Joan. Turns out Jean and Joan are the same name. I still remember standing in front of my classmates, after much rehearsal and trepidation. “My name is Joan of Arc. I was born in 1412. I was a shepard girl in France and martyred by the English.” In 1988 I went to Versailles and saw an impressive fresco of St. Joan, valiant and on a powerful horse, defending her faith. I was very impressed and proud that she was my Patron Saint. No shrinking violet at all. Always glad to know that I have my own special saint and to this day feel a kinship with St. Joan, her bravery and tenacity, boldly going where angels fear to tread!