Sts. Martha and Mary with ChristMy Patron Saints for 2008 are Sts. Martha and Mary, the devoted disciples of Jesus and sisters of Lazarus. From what I’ve seen, however, St. Martha is the only sister recognized as a Patron Saint.  Her patronage includes: cooks, dieticians, domestic servants, homemakers, hotel-keepers, laundry workers, servers, single laywomen, and travelers.  I like keeping Martha and Mary together, however, as they represent active life (Martha) and contemplative life (Mary)–which, as I’ve mentioned, are two necessary aspects of Dominican life and Christian life in general.

When I was first given Sts. Martha and Mary, along with the exhortation to pray for homemakers, I was a bit puzzled.  I scarcely considered myself a homemaker, and found it a little hard to identify with, or feel any special sympathy for homemakers, whom I tended to identify with married women and mothers.  But eventually, as I opened myself up to a relationship with these saints and to think more about homemakers and homemaking, things began to change.

First of all, I discovered that St. Martha is Patron Saint of Single Laywomen–that is me!  That made me feel more “at home” with her and her sister Mary.  It made me feel like one of the sisters!  And I gradually began to look at myself and my home differently.  I’d never considered my little apartment to be a home–but I became intent on making it a home!  After all, I thought to myself, I am a dignified, educated, professional lady!  Maybe I’ve suffered some hard times and some losses and some unfairness in my life.  Maybe I’m not exactly where I would like to be right now.  But God, and life in general, has been good to me, and who am I to complain?!  All I have to do is make the best of it–and I’ve got a lot to work with.

I’ve never been the most “domestic” person on earth.  But I found myself having more and more energy and desire to work around my home, cleaning, decorating, de-cluttering.  Making it comfy, orderly, and pleasant.  To my great delight, I found that putting my home in shape made everything better!  I found it easier to relax, easter to read and study, and easier to pray!  I found myself praying while I worked, and remembering that God is part of my life and my home.  I’m not just working for me, I’m also working for Him.  I felt that I was pleasing Him by my work.

Currently, I am getting restless to get into cooking!  I’ve always been a bit discouraged by cooking–it’s really hard to cook when it’s just you, and there’s nobody to cook for.  But now I think that cooking could be a great way to express myself and be creative!  Not to mention eat more healthily!  Considering I haven’t been cooking for myself, I have been doing pretty well with eating–I’ve lost about 15 pounds since the beginning of the year–pounds that I needed to lose.  (Actually, I give most of the credit to drinking lots and lots of water!)  Also, I think my improved domestic life has provided me extra energy to exercise more too.

I have to say, Sts. Martha and Mary have been quite devoted friends to me.  They have “coincidentally” shown up in some important places in my life.  The biggest example being my admission into the Dominican Order.  March 9, 2008.  The Gospel reading of that day was–believe it or not–the story of Jesus raising Fra Angelico's Agony in the Garden, with Sts. Marta and MaryLazarus from the dead!  And St. Martha proclaiming her faith that Jesus was the Messiah.  I swear I didn’t plan it that way–it just happened!  :D

A couple weeks later, I was writing up things about the Triduum, illustrated by Bl. Fra Angelico works.  I discovered that Sts. Martha and Mary are seated at the lower right-hand corner of Bl. Fra Angelico’s Agony in the Garden, seen at right!  :D  I probably never would have noticed that before!

So… all in all, it’s been an interesting and beneficial year so far!  I look forward to the second half of it.  I foresee cooking in my near future… buying more furniture and decorations for the apartment… getting in better physical shape… continuing to find a good balance between action and contemplation… deepening in my faith and in my friendship with the Lord Jesus… being at reasonable peace with my status as a single laywoman, and using this time to prepare myself for possible future wife- and motherhood…  2008 might be the best year ever!  :D

Finally, I can’t close this post without saying:  I definitely pray for homemakers now!  I have the utmost respect for them!  Whenever I’m tempted to be lazy or uncheerful at my own modest attempts at homemaking, I just think:  If I can’t take care of myself, 2 cats, and a tiny apartment, how on earth will I ever keep up with a husband and who knows how many children?!  But you know, a husband and family is what I want in my life more than anything in the world–so, it’s really great motivation!

OH–and if you would like to receive your own Patron Saint for 2008, I think it is not too late! It looks like the dear ladies at this site are providing them year-round!  On the right sidebar, if you scroll down a little, there is an email link where you can request your Patron Saint.  Go ahead!  Enjoy your second half of 2008 with a special friend in Heaven!  Of course, you may find they’ve been with you through the first half too!