Out on a service call once, I was searching in vain for a wrench or wire or some missing part, this while everything was spread out on the basement floor in front of the furnace which I was trying to get working.  Although I had just had the part in my hand, it seemed that it had now gone off into another dimension. 

The owner was watching me, and as a confidence-builder in someone–me–who was trying to get his furnace going when it was twenty below zero outside, I was being less than impressive. The customer watched me rooting around looking for it for several minutes and finally said: “You know, don’t you, that St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things?” 

I replied: “At the moment, I probably couldn’t find him, either.” Since then, I’ve become enchanted with having designated saints assigned to various shortcomings in my character, or to the various recurring deficiencies I seem to encounter on occasion. One should not be too overly dependent on God for every little thing, so having some other personages to address with these piddling little nuisance calls would be pretty handy. Him, The Big Guy, I could thus keep the line open to for disaster, rather than dilemma. 

Back in the fifties, there were loads of St. Christopher icons hanging from rear view mirrors in automobiles. They were everywhere. This either indicated a lot of Catholics, or a lot of people lost on the road needing St. Chris to get them home. We didn’t have one on the family auto. For one thing, we were Methodist; for another, dad never got lost. Sure, at the drop of a farmer’s seed corn cap, he’d strike off cross country, viewing other farmers’ crops, and driving the rest of us into exasperation. But you could have dropped him into a pitched blizzard, and he’d have found his way home. 

So, why aren’t there any new saints? It doesn’t seem that any have been voted into office lately. Sure, St. Anthony has a new job description, since he now finds lost furnace parts instead of lost sheep, but what about all the other folks in real need of assistance? It’s hard, one would believe, for the old saints to make the switch from the leper colonies and stake burnings of old to airplanes crashing today. We need some new saints. 

Let’s start with St. Cybernard. This computer saint will be prayed to by computer geeks everywhere who have ever attempted a reboot of a dead database and a grinding hard drive. Nothing with computers will be beyond his job description. Spreadsheets may molt, tool bars may disappear, clipboards may swallow what you’ve saved wholesale, half written columns may disintegrate piece by piece before your very eyes. St. Cybernerd will provide relief.  Large rooms full of toll-free operators whom we call to fix these problems may sit with all their receivers off the hook while they watch all our telephone numbers projected up on a big board.  They may say: “Look. There’s that guy calling again. Hasn’t he called fourteen times already?” Well, they will snicker no longer. If any of the above might happen, St. Cybernard will penetrate their computer memory, and direct deposit their paychecks in Siberia. 

St. General Electric, who, although he often confuses his current role as guardian of appliances everywhere with a past life of leading legions of men into battle, will strike terror into misbehaving refrigerators and clothes washers. Your refrigerator freezes lettuce on one end and spoils milk on the other? St. G., on those good days when he remembers what millennium he’s in, will march in, order your fridge to attention, and give it a talking to about Roman honor and what it takes to get through the pearly gates, which will confuse it into submission. On his bad days, he will ride in on a white steed, skewer your Westinghouse with a 12-foot jousting lance, slay the dishwasher, forget why he came, and ride on. Saints have their problems, too. 

Don’t forget, when none of these saints do you any good, there’s St. Jude.

He’s the patron saint of lost causes.