Monday, March 26, 2007

Saints Alive!

I sat next to a very interesting man named Tim on my way to North Carolina. He was an Australian biologist on a book tour, and he writes about climate change and global warming. He was reading a book about cave paintings and I was reading the latest issue of Glamour, so to all appearances, he was definitely the most interesting of our row. We started talking about Texas, and about the most interesting Doctor's names that we've encountered- for me Dr. Teabaggy (who I worked for at the Department of Digestive Disease) Dr. Will Harm (my dentist) Dr. Thrasher (my physical therapist). For him- Dr. Bugger (his dentist whose office overlooked a cemetery and who was found bludgeoned to death by a man he took home with him one night).

We started to talk about Saints (we were both Catholic) and he informed me that many of my favorite old standbys were "sacked." He told me that his mother had statues of many patron saints and he remembers when they went under review and many of them got "the boot" as it were. He said that she piled up the statues by the rubbish bin, but couldn't bring herself to actually throw them away. I found myself doubting my saint knowledge--which, as it turns out, is pretty strong due in a large part to the card game Saints Alive!-- the only game that I could convince my dad to play on a regular basis.

Tim, I hope that your mother didn't throw the statues away, because I've done a little research and have found that most of the saints we discussed are still in the game, as it turns out. They would probably appreciate some kind of a formal apology.

Some of the saints we discussed:

Saint Christopher: "The Christ Bearer" who was not as turns out "sacked" (decanonized) but rather was downgraded in 1969. I was glad to find out that he is still a saint. Having grown up in an Italian Catholic school, I didn't want to be the one to have to tell all the Italians to get a new patron saint.

Saint Aloysius: "The Patron Saint of Youth" who I came to know as the patron saint of parking places. My mom still invokes him whenever we park anywhere. Which is often. Also not sacked.

We talked a lot about our mothers, and I mentioned that mine called one day to tell me that she sent a very long and heated e-mail to the Pope and was waiting to see whether or not he would actually read it. She said if he did, she'd probably get a letter soon excommunicating her. It is true! You can e-mail the Pope!

The website:
His e-mail:

Incidentally, in case you're interested, today's Saint is Margaret Clitherow, a convert from the Church of England and a Martyr. She is the patron saint of businesswomen.

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