I had never thought of it before. I was speaking to an oblate and they mentioned their patron saint was Gertrude of Helfta. The idea of one’s own patron saint had appeal. Of course I’d heard of patron saints, but one of my very own seemed a far reach, until I began thinking and praying about it. Who was my go-to saint? Who was the one who seemed to be there when I most needed help? Of course it was Lady Julian of Norwich. Her book, the first one to be written by a woman in English, Revelations of Divine Love, spoke to me over and over again. When I most need help, Julian is there for me, speaking directly to me. When I was baptized by a Benedictine monk at the age of 18, he gave me my first introduction to Julian. She has been like a mother to me. Boldly I said to her, you must be mine.
She writes me every day,
at least it seems that way.
The first woman to write a book
in English. Each time I pick
it up I find there is more,
never in the parsimony of
patriarchy, but in the generosity
that only a mother’s love can be.
Each reading gives a deeper
meaning, making me new again.
Yet I ask her about what is to become
of me. As a good mother would say,
Only you can find your way.
Love was her meaning
Charles Preble, OblSB
This poem was published in Simple Attendance, a collection of poetry written by Oblate Charles Preble. It is available for purchase at Whitby Gift Shop, the College of Saint Benedict bookstore and the Saint John University bookstore.