My patron saint is St. Juliana of Lazarevo. Also known as Juliana Lazarovskaya. She was from the town of Murom, in Russia, and lived about the same time that the Pilgrims were sailing for the New World.
Juliana was illiterate, and was orphaned at a young age. Raised with an aunt and uncle who did not share her piety, and mocked her when she would recite the psalms (which she had memorized at the age of 12!). Juliana's hope was to become a nun.
But then the son of the local overlord caught a glimpse of her and no one else would do, he had to marry her. And her family insisted on it. So, this pious young woman finds herself going from being the local orphan girl, to married to the local gentry and suddenly in charge of the estate, as her in-laws happily turned all the chatelaine duties over to her. In other words, she went from working to working. She also bore seven children, some of whom died in infancy and one of which was murdered when he was a young man, by his trusted servant. So she knew what it was to grieve. But she never lost faith in God.
There was a famine one time, and Juliana taught her servants not to steal and set the example of generosity to them, to share their bread, and to make loaves out of wild grasses and such. She knew what it was to suffer. But she never lost faith in God.
Being the wife of the local overlord put her in a position of being responsible for those under her care on the estate. And there were many poor. (Russia's always been good at producing many poor.) One of the things Juliana did to alleviate their suffering was stay up very late into the night sewing clothing for the destitute. And praying.
Just like Tabitha/Dorcas did, who is mentioned in the book of Acts.
I've always thought that sewing for the poor would be a neat thing to do. But there is such a glut of clothing here in this country. Free clothes abound and really, who wants something homemade?
So, I'm sitting with my friend having some coffee at my dining room table yesterday. My friend recently got back from a short mission's trip to Swaziland, Africa with an organization that helps the many many Aids orphans in that small country in various ways. One of the needs is school uniforms. And in general clothing for these children. And not trashy old stuff, but new things, for these who have nothing. And if she supplied fabric, would I be willing to do some sewing for them?
The VERY THING I was wishing for got dropped in my lap while I was sitting in my own dining room.
Who would have thunk it?
God, I reckon.
And I'm grateful.
Icon of saint from here.