Melanie Dziengo, Youth Speak News

Praying to the saints during tough times

By  Melanie Dziengo, Youth Speak News
  • December 23, 2011

It’s a typical experience for students. As the end of the semester approaches, class assignments pile up. This leaves students, especially university and college students, feeling overwhelmed and lost.

Personally, I had been feeling the pressure of a fourth-year course load. With bi-weekly quizzes, four assignments and a thesis due, there were many times I felt trapped — like I could not get out from under the mountain of homework. But I persevered and, this time, I had something in my arsenal to use: prayer.

The first (and main) saint who was by my side was St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas is known as the patron saint of all students and universities. He impressed his teachers because he made incredible progress by excelling in school and learning the ins and outs of virtue. At 22, Aquinas became a teacher in Naples where he started publishing his writings.

Finally, he moved to Paris where he became a priest. He was canonized in 1323.

Every day that I felt even slightly defeated was a day I prayed to him. When I had three assignments due in one week (and had procrastinated in the way only a fourth-year student knows how), I prayed. While I prayed to St. Thomas Aquinas as much as I could, I felt that prayer was not enough. I had to pray to anyone else who could help me. So, I turned to St. John Bosco.

Bosco is the patron saint of youth, young apprentices, Catholic publishers and editors. Bosco was the founder of the Salesian order, which is now the second largest religious order in the world. He was also committed to helping boys improve their lives. Bosco spent his adult years helping street children by educating them, taking them through the seven sacraments and teaching them how to be shoemakers, tailors or running printing presses.

These saints became somewhat of a reliance for me to get through the stress I was experiencing as the semester wrapped up and the time quickly ticked by. I prayed even more. The time crunch for my thesis kept staring me in the face and that had been my biggest stressor. Soon thereafter, I finally completed my thesis and I like to believe it was, in part, because of my prayers. Truth be told, I am not sure if I could have gotten through this period without St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John Bosco behind me.

To me, praying during the stressful time of the homework pile-up is as important as getting the work done.

Although it may seem difficult because of the stress — and that is usually on all our minds at the time — praying to these patron saints (or any other saints) can really help to relieve the stress.

No matter how you got through the stressful time, remember there is always a saintly shoulder to lean on.

(Dziengo, 21, is a media studies and journalism student at the University of Guelph-Humber.)

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