Friday, November 14, 2008

Patron Saint of Adopted Children?!


Who knew? There is actually a patron saint of adopted children. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, since there are patron saints for just about everything --cab drivers, abdominal pain, cake makers, motorcyclists, pawnbrokers, etc.

Zoe told me about the patron saint of adopted children at dinner tonight. Her class has begun studying saints, and each student was to select a saint and do a short report about him or her. They read their reports today, and Zoe said one of her classmates read that his saint was the patron saint of adopted children. I asked Zoe what she thought when she heard the report, and she said, "I looked around the room to see if anyone knew I was adopted, and I looked at Mrs. M [her teacher] and she winked at me!" She wasn't at all disturbed by it; in fact, she seemed pretty happy about the whole thing.

She couldn't remember the name of the saint, so out of curiousity I looked online -- it's Saint William of Rochester. And why is he the patron saint of adopted children? Well, the first biography I found had only one reference of any kind to adoption: "He went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem with his adopted son David who murdered him near Rochester, England." Huh? Being murdered by your adopted child makes you the patron saint of adopted children?! A second biography expanded on it, saying that he found a child on the doorstep of the church when he went to Mass, and he adopted him and taught him his trade (baker). The bio goes on to say, "David wilfully misled his benefactor and, with robbery in view, felled him with a blow on the head and cut his throat." Another charming note, the son was known as "David the Foundling."

So what in this story makes William the patron saint of adopted children? William might have been "touched by adoption," as the cliche goes, but "killing blow by adoption" doesn't seem to have the same uplifting spirit! And "benefactor?!" Ah, yes, adoptive parent as generous savior. And the "rescued" child as quintessentially ungrateful.
Makes it pretty clear what his story is supposed to be -- an object lesson in gratitude. There's a real "don't bite the hand that feeds you" vibe here. I don't think we'll be emphasizing him in any way in our household. And I'm happy that the school report didn't share the whole of the story.

7 comments:

Chinazhoumom said...

Malinda
I know how you like an interesting read - I was going thru old posts on my older blog - and found this link - I think I will print this and save it for when my daughter is an adult...and we have had many discusions about lie in China...
http://www.pop.org/pdf/China_25-Year_One-Child_Policy.pdf

malinda said...

Thanks! I read the article when it first came out, and another reader pointed me to it a few weeks ago. I'm working on a post about it -- I grade it as fascinating, but with some caveats about potential bias by the author. Stay tuned!

Wendy said...

Yikes! I am soooo glad the student was not a great investigator, I cannot imagine how Zoe would have felt if this would have come out in class. I hope she doesn't ask for the charm!

Lisa said...

We know Moses was adopted, and that is a much better story! Let's leave the Bible a moment - how about Superman being adopted? I love that...
OK Malinda I may be just posting to you right now since this is an old entry. But here I am! You can't get rid of me nooooowwwww. I am your biggest blog fan. Maybe I tie with Wendy, who knows?

Bill Dilworth said...

Agreed, he's a really horrible choice for patron of adopted children.

kitten said...

patron Saints of adopted Children

http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-thomas-more/

http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-clotilde/

http://saints.sqpn.com/saintw50.htm

Anonymous said...

St. Thomas More is a wonderful patron saint for adoption!