I have been to Rome twice, and I would like to tell you a little story from each time. The most recent time was two weeks before John Paul the Great died. Another Sister and I were riding a bus with a seminarian from our diocese who was studying in Rome and was graciously helping us find our way around. We started talking about our favorite saints, and he told us that one of his professors told him that we do not choose our favorite saints, but that they, indeed, choose us. The ones we feel most drawn to are, in fact, drawing us to them. How theologically sound that is, I don’t know, but I like the sense of it!
The second story precedes this one by a few years, but is very related to it. It was my first visit to Rome and I was pretty much on my own. I had only three days, but was within walking distance of St. Peter’s. Since I didn’t really know how to get around well enough to see much else, I decided to just “do” St. Peter’s in depth. On one of my last visits–which happened to be on this very date, November 12–I roamed around inside and at some point got tired enough to look for a place to just sit down. If you’ve ever been to St. Peter’s, you know there aren’t many places to sit down. I finally found a side altar way back in a corner that had some chairs set up in front of it. As I sat there praying, I noticed a person up at the altar, praying before it. After he left, out of curiosity, I went up to the altar to see who was buried there. (Remember, I was “doing” St. Peter’s in depth, exploring all the nooks and crannies–and there are plenty of saints in those nooks and crannies!) Much to my surprise, I found that it was St. Josaphat, whose very feast day it was! Now I know that he was seeking me out, rather than vice versa. He has become a special friend since then, especially because of his great work for the unity of the Church.