2020 Note: I no longer am Methodist or want to turn Quaker, but St Clare is still my patron saint.
Ok, so a Methodist who wants to turn Quaker probably shouldn’t have a patron saint. I understand that. But when I discovered St Clare, there was no choice. As a saint, she’s got impeccable creditials. She was one of St Francis of Assisi’s first followers, and was noted for her disdain and disinterest in worldly possessions and events. She is described as having a “radical commitment to poverty,” (wikipedia) meaning she did not believe in personal or even communal ownership of anything. She is the founder of the order of nuns nicknamed the Poor Clares, who are among the strictest about not having personal property. She lived from 1194-1253.
So far, typical nun. No doubt holy and awesome, but…ho hum. BUT, in 1958, Pope Pius XII surrendered to a massive fit of irony and named Clare the Patron Saint of Television. Pius was obviously an insightful man, to realize as early as 1958 that television would need a patron saint, so I applaud his choice. St. Clare, the saint of poverty, also the saint of conspicuous consumption, culture-altering advertising, and total shifting of the societal zeitgeist? I need a T shirt for her. Or him. Using irony to make the point about how television would impact post-modern sensibilities, as a statement about the commodity-driven paradigm shifts that would occur because of the flickering influence of Lucy, Mike Wallace, AlkaSelser ads, Disney channel, and Saturday Night Live–the pope was a prescient genius.
I know that the cynical amoung you will suggest that the pope didn’t anticipate all that, couldn’t have guessed that TV would turn our population cynical, selfish, and sedentary–that’s the impact of television you’re feeling, you know! Yippee for St Clare! August 12th is my new Feast Day. I’m writing the ceremony now!