August 10, 2013 6:35:22 PM
I consider myself a victim of my early Catholic education. My childhood was filled with angst and guilt. At Saint James Major we went to mass every morning and prayed in the classroom several times a day. Even so, we were treated as a school of small, uniformed sinners.
We were taught to memorize our Catechism by rote. No one dared to question or even try to understand what we were "learning." (Q: Who made you? A: God made me. Q: Where is God? A: God is everywhere.)
I got punished for losing my green beanie, and for coughing too much in church. Punishment usually meant a swat across the hands with a wooden ruler. To this day I am terrified of nuns, and not too fond of wooden rulers. My mother always claimed that if she had not sent me to Catholic school, I would have nothing to write about. She thought I should thank her for that.
But the religion had some beautiful accoutrements. I adored the statues and stained glass. Catholicism has saints, ordinary people who made great sacrifices for their faith. I will always love holy cards depicting them with golden halos and cherubic expressions.
Knowing a bit about the saints can come in quite handy. There is a patron saint for almost every type of employment, every city, every country. This is useful when praying for particular desires. You may never need to pray to the patron of plague victims, or beggars, or insanity, but they exist if you need them.
Remembering this led me to realize that the Golden Triangle is woefully deficient in saints. So I decided to find some that are specific to our area.
n Saint Fowlina -- Patron of all fast-food fried chicken outlets. As a young girl, Fowlina was so distraught at the sight of her parents slaughtering chickens that she intervened, unfortunately losing her head in the process. She now protects chickens, and the workers who serve them. Her symbol is a feather duster.
n Saint Kud Sue -- Patron of weeds and transplants. Originally from China, Kud Sue found herself in this strange land called Mississippi. Having no natural enemies, she thrived, but suffered great loneliness because she was always considered an outsider. She is symbolized by a thick blanket of leaves, which she often hid behind.
n Saint Dixie Delta -- Patron of sarcasm and big hair. As a professional beauty contestant, Saint Dixie Delta coined the phrase, "Well bless your her-art." She was solely responsible for the many inflections and meanings that can be derived from so few words. Her symbols are cans of hair spray and tiaras.
You may have trouble finding these very holy ladies in books on the subject of saints. I admit that they are slightly obscure. However, they will intervene on your behalf when needed. I am still doing research to find the saint who protects children from nuns with wooden rulers.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.