SAINT ANTHONY – SAINT CHRISTOPHER – SAINT NICHOLAS – SAINT JUDE! PRAY FOR US!
A Saint is someone who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness, sanctity and virtue. Being raised Catholic your everyday existence was shaped by the priests and nuns extolling the virtues of these highly revered individuals. All names were linked to these ancestors, and Catholic lore stories were told daily. You were lucky if you happened to be named after a saint, but I did not learn about St. Jane until at least 4th grade. Considering the amount of after school detentions I served and the number of erasers I cleaned and clapped I don’t think the nuns considered me to be very “saintly.”
December 5 is a special day in my life as it was the day my one and only son Christopher Anthony was born. He arrived 40 years ago on December 5, 1979. We did not name him for any Saints as my husband Vidar was a Lutheran. We named him for my father and my brothers. Anthony Christopher Canepa was born in Palermo, Sicily on April 13, 1913, while his mother Caterina was on a holiday visiting her family. His father was Joseph and his brothers Theodore, Phillip, Christopher and John were all named for Saints. My father was the Saint in the family as he was generous, loving and the most caring. As the middle child he was also the peacemaker.
My dad, Tony Canepa and his mother Caterina in Sicily
The Joseph and Caterina's family from left: Tony, parents Joseph "Peope" & Caterina, with brothers John, Ted, Phillip and Christopher (seated)
Saint Anthony was the patron Saint of lost things. He was always present in our home growing up as we all lost stuff all the time. My mother, “Saint” Alberta invoked his name and asked him to help her often. She had quite the reputation for working with St. Anthony to find things that were lost. Once the item was found she always made sure that we said, “Thank you!” to her and to St. Anthony.
Saint Christopher was known as the protector of children and travelers. That was important to me because we traveled often for business and family trips and made many overseas trips to Reykjavik, Iceland to visit Vidar’s relatives and families. St. Christopher is known for carrying a child across a treacherous river and he is known to protect people from lightning, storms and floods. Many U.S. Soldiers carry a St. Christopher prayer card to protect them during tours of duty. The Catholics removed St. Christopher for some political reason but many people still honor his history and invoke his help on all things related to children and safe travel.
December 6 is known as Saint Nicholas Day and is a sweet memory in our family. In the United States one custom that is associated with Saint Nicholas is that children put their shoes out in the foyer or hallway the night before, hoping to get some fruit, coins and snacks. Saint Nicholas Day, or the Feast of Saint Nicholas is observed in Western Christian countries and on December 19 in Eastern Christian countries. The American Santa Claus, as well as the British Father Christmas, derive from Saint Nicholas. “Santa Claus” is itself derived in part from the Dutch Sinterklaas, the saint’s name in that language. I considered myself blessed when Christopher was born 40 years ago (December 5, 1979) as he was named for special people in my life and his pediatrician was named Nicholas!
Proud parents Vidar Jonsson, Christopher and Jane Canepa
The Eventors were hired to promote Saint Anthony Hospital in Chicago’s Little Village and Pilsen neighborhood. For more than 120 years, physicians and staff of Saint Anthony Hospital have provided medical care, social services, and community outreach programs to Chicago’s underserved communities. Saint Anthony Hospital is also known as one of the largest Maternity Centers in the city. In 2009, when we handled public relations, the hospital was known for delivering on average 2,200 babies per year and had an average of 190 births a month with 5 – 6 deliveries per day. A total of 16 babies were born between New Year’s Eve and January 2, 2009. Click here to view the press release.
Speaking of babies, more than 70 years ago, Danny Thomas was a struggling entertainer with a baby on the way. He was visiting a Detroit church and was so moved during the Catholic mass he placed his last $7 in the collection box. The next day he was offered a small acting part that would pay ten times the amount he had given to the church. He prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes. Danny started to raise money for St. Jude in the early 1950’s. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was the first fully integrated hospital in the South and began with a group of business people in 1955. Thomas formed ALSAC with the sole purpose of raising funds for the support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. The mission of the hospital was to create a treatment facility and research center focused on pediatric leukemias and cancers in children. Today, ALSAC is the second largest healthcare charity in the United States and is supported by more than 1 million volunteers nationwide. St. Jude physicians and scientists have pioneered treatments that have helped push the overall survival rates for childhood cancers from 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to 80 percent today. Danny and Rose Marie Thomas’ children Marlo and Terre and son Tony carry on their parents’ dream and remain the driving force in fulfilling their father’s mission. Click here to visit St. Jude's website.
Two coincidences in the Jane/Eventor world – a good friend and former college Molly Quinn is the VP of Fitness & Endurance Programs at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital at St. Jude in Memphis. Molly and I worked together on many corporate road race events. Consider St. Jude in your holiday giving and in the chance you make a resolution to run or walk in a fundraising special event think of St. Jude. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.
During one of my last days in publicity and special events at Carson Pirie Scott & Co. and just before I headed out the door to start The Eventors, Marlo Thomas came to the store to promote a product line of bed sheets. My colleague Bridget Terry in the PR department booked Marlo on the Phil Donahue show to promote the bedding line. Marlo made an appearance on Donahue on CBS and the couple clicked. Maybe there is a match-making Saint too.