Thursday, April 2, 2020

St. Corona - pray for us anyway

Saint Corona
In the middle of March, Catholic news outlets began to report an extraordinary coincidence: not only is there a saint named Corona, but she happens to be the patroness of epidemics. Suddenly, her cult exploded. The internet was flooded with new prayers and litanies beseeching this obscure Saint Corona to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

By the end of the month, however, the “fact”-checkers at Snopes (those renowned experts on the Roman martyrology) announced that Saint Corona was not, in fact, a patroness of epidemics. ...

In truth, they’re right. There’s no history of Corona being invoked against plague and pandemic. Traditionally, she’s regarded as the patroness of gamblers and treasure-hunters. In fact, she probably went by the name Stephanie in her mortal existence.

But, then, who cares? Do these wet blankets really think Corona is going to refuse our prayers just because she’s not an officially designated plague saint?
This is a wonderful article which points out that historically it is not the Vatican who chooses what saints are the patrons of, it is the people. And, in the case of St. Corona, the people have spoken! Plus, we can ask any saint we like for intercessory prayer, whether or not it is under their patronage.

I really love this bit of the article, which you should go read in its entirety.
We might imagine the popular patrons all rushing here and there, furiously answering petitions. St. Christopher is dashing between fathers who are setting off on long car trips; St. Anthony is tending to busy mothers who have lost their car keys. And there, amid all this bustle, sweet Corona sits on her little throne. Now and then she hears the plea of an Italian grandmother asking for help with her son’s gambling debt but, otherwise, her days are rather uneventful.

Then, suddenly, a loud roar goes up from the earth. The heavens quake; St. Peter’s book nearly falls from its pedestal. Saint Corona almost takes no notice, expecting St. Michael to fly into battle with his flaming sword or St. Brendan to leap into the sea with his great life-ring. Then she notices St. Anthony and St. Christopher, St. Michael and St. Brendan, have halted in their tracks. All at once, they turn and look at her.

Saint Corona blinks. Then, at last, she hears a hundred thousand voices calling her name. Baffled, she looks up at Our Lord. He smiles. “They’re asking for you, Corona.” So she rises from her throne, puts on her crown of glory, and gets to work.
This vision of Saint Corona suddenly going to her new job brought to mind Jo Walton's wonderful story Joyful and Triumphant: Saint Zenobius and the Aliens.

It is short, maybe three pages so go read it at the link. Walton says she wrote it when meditating upon what life in Heaven would be like. It is a delightful companion piece to the imaginings above.

Note: I hadn't heard of St. Corona. Many thanks to Maria for bringing this article to my attention!

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