2024 Patron Saints


Peace be with you! With the onset of a new semester and ministry year, the Catholic Hoos leadership team feels compelled to share how our prayer and contemplation led us to select our patronage for 2024. Through discussion, we felt the Siblings of Bethany – Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus – called out to us for the way they speak to our ministry’s needs on both individual and collective levels. While there are innumerable ways that these saints can intercede on our behalf, below are the predominant themes that arose throughout our discourse. It is our wish that sharing our hearts will set the tone for how we hope to steward this community throughout 2024. Please prayerfully read through our reasoning with an open heart and begin asking for these saints to intercede for Catholic Hoos and the University of Virginia.
St. Martha
Sometimes we may find ourselves joking that we act “too much like a Martha,” placing precedence on our academics/extracurriculars and failing to carve time out in our days for communion with the Lord. Yes, we should recognize and remedy this disordered structure, but it is important to remember that in the end, Martha is still a saint. Holiness is not out of reach for us. Whenever we realize that we have spent our whole day completing assignments and have barely prayed, remember that we can always turn back to Him and “choose the better part” by orienting our work to God.
Later in John’s Gospel, we see that Martha did not believe that Jesus could resurrect her deceased brother. In reflecting on this passage, perhaps ask yourself how often you underestimate the Lord. Maybe He can help us heal from smaller sins, but do we believe he can address our deepest struggles – the sins that we can’t let go of? Remember: Jesus can heal all that there is to us. Let the prayers of St. Martha help you to radically trust in the Lord and give Him the full breadth of your hearts.
Finally, through the intercession of St. Martha, we hope that hospitality will serve as a powerful means through which we can reflect the Trinity to members within and beyond our ministry. Through welcoming others at various events, casual conversations, and meaningful encounters, we hope to lead others to find their home in the Lord.
St. Mary
It’s telling that the story of Martha and Mary centralizes where the latter is sitting rather than on what Jesus is teaching. Here, the contrast seems to be between the crass St. Martha with her demure and childlike sister, but really, it is Mary committing the daring act. We assume that Martha was too laden with chores and cooking, but perhaps she was busying herself with these tasks because she believed she wasn’t good enough to sit at the feet of Our Lord. How starkly does that contrast with her sister, who is considered the sinful woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her hair? Mary was bold because she knew who she was in Christ. Ask for the intercession of St. Mary to have your heart recreated as one that loves the Lord without borders and without regard for others’ opinions.
Truly, our God desires us to know that there is room for us all to sit with Jesus and soak in His truth, beauty, and wisdom. It is in this way that Mary of Bethany can teach us what it means to worship the Lord. Worship is not something we do with mere words, but it’s how we live our lives. We don’t go to mass and recreate the Lord’s Supper as our one weekly act of worship – we come because we already are worshipers of Him. The witness of St. Mary instructs us to not only place precedence on prayer above the various obligations of the world, but she also shows us that it is simple yet bold. We need not make prayer particularly grand for it to be authentic: all we have to do is sit at His feet and listen.
St. Lazarus
While the Lord’s miraculous resurrection of Lazarus is focused on the physical, we can use this story to reflect on where the Lord desires to resurrect us from the parts of our hearts that are dead to sin. The Lord raises us from spiritual death every single day, calling us – just like Lazarus – to “come out!” of our own tombs comprised of darkness.  And the Lord will do it at any time. Lazarus had been dead for four days – at that point, we’d assume it’s over, but Jesus came when hope was lost by even those who knew Him most intimately. Sometimes, we can despair that we (or those we love) are too far gone and entrenched in our sins, but Lazarus’s raising shows there is no expiration date on the Lord’s mercy.
However, this narrative also allows us to reflect on how we must lead others to Eternal Glory. Jesus charged the bystanders at Lazarus’s resurrection to “untie him and let him go,” and that directive rests on us, too. We all know people who are constrained by their burial bands – do we listen to His command to help loosen their bonds? If the “wages for sin is death,” then we are walking in a graveyard every time we step on grounds. But we need not despair, for Jesus came and destroyed death – His is the victory, and He wants to share that with all of His children!
The Siblings of Bethany
There is a deep desire within our ministry for fraternal and sororal community. We are not just a collection of acquaintances or loose social associations, but brothers and sisters in Christ. St. Paul calls us to “love one another with mutual affection,” and addresses each of his letters to his “brothers and sisters” across the continent (Romans 12). There is a thread connecting each person who walks through STA’s doors: adoption in Christ. Let us use this lens through which the saints see the world and look upon each other with these eyes of faith.
To conclude, we all know how hard it can be to identify where the Lord is present in our daily lives, especially as we course through the hectic schedules of college students. Remember that the Lord met each of these siblings where they were: the Lord met Martha and Mary in their own home, and for Lazarus, He met him even in his tomb. Jesus will come to us anywhere: in the places where we are most comfortable, where we are swept up in our tasks, and where we are consumed in darkness. We pray that these three saints may feel relatable, within reach, and powerful intercessors in the life of our ministry.

Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, pray for us!