As far as I have been able to find out, the modern custom is based on an excerpt from St Faustina’s diary:
“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year’s Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning, during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn’t read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 – the Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament,where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”
Excerpt from “Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of St. Faustina”
There are several sites on the Internet that offer to draw you a patron saint and send you the name. But in the busy rush up to Christmas, I’d forgotten all about the custom. Thanks, then, to the Anchoress, who linked to Jennifer Fulweiler‘s online Patron Saint Generator.
Here’s what one of the other sites suggests:
…take time to research your saints so you get to know them better and then you will be able to recognize the connections and intercessions that you and your saint will share. The more sites that you can go to, the more you will learn. I also suggest that you treat your patron as a friend and confidante. Talk to your saint. Tell them your wants, your troubles, your fears, etc…Ask them to intercede for you. Most of all, listen to your saint … ask them to open your eyes and mostly your heart to what they have in store for you during this yearly walk with them.They may have chosen YOU as an intercessor for THEM and for what they stand for … in other words, maybe they want you to pray for people who are bearing certain crosses or they may want you to pray for priests or any of the number of things that they are patrons of. Perhaps they possessed a quality that they would like to see blossom in you and they are going to be there to help you do that. Or they could have lacked a certain quality that you are strong in and they will help you help others grow in that particular quality or talent. These are only suggestions on how to look at your saint. Most importantly , they will help you to grow spiritually, if you allow them to help you.
As you’ll see from my sidebar, Jennifer’s nifty generator linked me with St Josephina Bakhita. I’ve been finding out about her, and will post her story shortly. Why not give it a try, and please let us know about your saint for 2011.