Did you know that there are patron saints for most anything, even the internet? “Patron saints” in Catholicism are venerable women and men from throughout history who are heavenly advocates for places, professions and people. It is good to know that in the oddest of times there are saints who we can turn to as an aid on our way. In this time when we are leaning heavily on the internet, it is good to know who to turn to for continued support.
As the internet was gaining sway in everyday life, Pope St. John Paul II named St. Isidore of Seville the patron on the internet, which is interesting because St. Isidor was bishop of Seville in 600 AD – a few years before the internet came to be. As bishop he created a school that became a model for early universities. He also sought to establish for the community good norms for social justice and representative government as well as firm foundations in the faith. Yet the main thing that helped get him connected to the copious content of the internet is his twenty-book opus where he sought to set out the origins of as many things as he could, from language to law, from biology to agriculture, from Church history to road building. He tried to share as much knowledge as there was to be shared, and is therefore seen as someone who had in mind the great potential of sharing that comes through the internet.
Also noted as a possible patron of the internet is St Maximillian Kolbe, who built a large media service to bring news, information, and religious education to rural areas of Poland in the 1920s. In a similar vein for how we hope to gain much of what we find on the internet, he would give away all of his material for free. While often best-known for offering his life in the place of another in a German concentration camp, it is well worth looking up his many other contributions for the good of others.
All you holy women and men, pray for us.
“Did You Know” is a regular feature in UPBeat that reveals the wondrous and occasionally peculiar world of Catholicism. We will close out this academic year with info on patron saints for the current condition. Direct questions or ideas to Fr. Jim Gallagher C.S.C., or Karen Eifler.