Editor’s note: Today, we welcome new contributor (and new wife!) Megan Swaim to our CatholicMom.com family. I hope many of you already know Megan through her amazing work with MyYearofFaith.com. My friendship with Megan has blossomed over the past year, and I’m thrilled that she’ll be joining us as a regular contributor here on the site. I also am very touched my her portrait below with Bishop D’Arcy, to whom we recently said goodbye. Welcome Megan! Glad you’re here! LMH
We were married on November 30th, the Feast of St. Andrew. That day, I wrote a blog post about my little brother, who has always been my “St. Andrew”. If you had asked me or my husband that day why it was significant that we were married on the Feast of St. Andrew, we might have given you a shrug followed by a questioning, “…something about the New Evangelization…?” You wouldn’t suspect hat St. Andrew has become the patron saint of our marriage and one of our dearest friends in heaven.
But he has. And not by our choosing (though we gladly accept)!
A friend once told me that we don’t really choose patron saints, they choose us. Now of course, some patrons we receive by circumstance, like our names given at Baptism, through our profession or vocation, or by locality. But some, throughout our lifetime, work their way into our lives and hearts in such a way that we might consider them friends. I’ve always felt this way about St. Andre Bessette. For years I’ve said, “He’s my best friend in heaven!!!” And I mean it. I truly long for the day when we can meet face to face in the Kingdom! He was a saint I kept stumbling upon by chance, over and over and over, until I caved and bought his biography, and I’ve gone to him for intercession and example ever since. He pursued me. I relented. And now we’re friends.
Well, it’s happening again. And this time, it’s with my patron’s patron.
We were married on the Feast of St. Andrew. Of course, as newlywed (and a girl), every time we’ve encountered St. Andrew since then, I’ve looked at my husband with bright, starry eyes, a little delighted hand clap, and a giddy voice, and said, “Oh, honey, look, it’s St. Andrew!” Which of course is followed by the lovey-dovey sigh that communicates to anyone within earshot or eyesight that yes, indeed, we are (very) newlyweds.
In the weeks following our wedding it sure felt like I was doing that giddy-clap, lovey-dovey sigh an awful lot. I’d barely noticed St. Andrew for much of my life, and when I did, it was always with a nod to my little brother.
But here he was. On our honeymoon. Everywhere.
It helps that we honeymooned in Rome and they LOVE St. Andrew there. We’d be walking hand-in-hand along the cobblestone streets (smiling and sighing, of course…we are newlyweds you know!), and there, right in front of us would be, “San Andrea”. Early on, we stopped in a church dedicated to our new friend to pray for each other and ask his intercession on our marriage. And then, the next day, in another one. We kept running into him! Churches dedicated to St. Andrew. Statues of St. Andrew. Paintings. Icons. Depictions of his calling and his crucifixion. He was crashing our honeymoon!
One morning we had a private Mass celebrated for us by a priest friend in St. Peter’s Basilica. We were assigned to a side-altar on the left side of the nave called “The Crucifixion of St. Peter”. It was on that very spot that St. Peter (another of my favorites) was crucified almost 2,000 years ago. It is a memory I will cherish forever: standing in the most beautiful church in the world, listening to my husband read the Old Testament reading. I was brimming with joy; any more and it’d spill right over.
And then I looked up. Above the beautiful mosaic of St. Peter, nestled in the dome of the side-altar, was a series of mosaics depicting the scenes of the life of St. Andrew. He’d found us again!
It was settled. St. Andrew had assigned himself as the patron saint of our marriage. And we are gladly adopted into his intercession and care.
I wasn’t surprised in the least to learn that St. Andrew is the patron saint of single lay women serving the church (of which I was for a number of years), the patron of women seeking a husband (of which I also was for a number of years), and the patron saint of happy marriages. (And women who hope to become mothers, FYI)
The patron saint of happy marriages. Yes, we will enthusiastically put ourselves into his protection, intercession, care and example. We will gladly ask for his help as we embrace the little (and big) crosses that accompany the first year of marriage. We will whole-heartedly ask for his prayers for our future family. But most importantly, we will carry in our hearts his example: that we must bring the ones we love to Jesus, who IS Love.
St. Andrew, patron saint of our marriage, pray for us!
Do you have a patron saint for your marriage?
Copyright 2013 Megan Swaim