Today it is the feast day of St John of Chrysostom. I am surprised to find out that he is the patron saint of orators, that he had an exceptional talent for public speaking and that he was very outspoken. This is not what I expected.
At age 11 I transferred to 'big' school, St Agnes Grammar School for Girls, and was put in the loving care of Sister Mary Chrysostom who was our form teacher for the first year. We all fell in love with her gentle ways and her quiet, caring demeanour. She could get cross and I tried her temper a few times myself. Her face would colour to a violent red but she would never raise her voice and you would feel very guilty afterwards for upsetting her. For me it was like having a loving grandmother at school. She made us feel liked and cared for. She also took us for music lessons and it was there that I usually brought that blush to her cheeks, ever the second best class clown (my friend Jackie was the ultimate champion), I loved to bring as much silliness as possible to the lesson. Whenever I was dismissed from the classroom to stand in disgrace outside the door my worst regret was having upset her and wished that I could take it back. It did make me try harder to behave next time though.
I wonder, then, why she chose St John Chrysostom as a saint so dear to her that she would take on his name as a noviciate? Perhaps she admired his fearlessness in his pursuit to do what was right. I remember her with such affection and was sad to hear recently that she had died a few years ago. I am very glad that our dear 'Sister Chrys' made us try our best to do what is right and to pursue goodness with gentle words and the example of kindness.