Saints and talismans


I have cancer, and this is no time for quibbling about what helps and what doesn’t. Lots of people of different faiths have said they’re praying for me, and I accept their prayers gratefully. Why in the world would I be stiff-necked enough to say: “Nah, I’m an atheist. Save your prayers”?

And I am not un-superstitious. I read Tarot cards, after all, and I look at horoscopes, and find profitable information in them. (Not the newspaper ones, kids. The real ones.)

So who am I to scoff at talismans and charms?

When my father was diagnosed with cancer in 1975, I was in my sophomore year at Gonzaga and just on the verge of converting to Catholicism. As you can imagine, I became very devout in no time at all. I attended mass almost daily, and said novenas, and prayed like a banshee.

Dad died anyway, in May 1976, despite all my masses and novenas. But it didn’t stop me from believing, deep down in my soul, that prayers and talismans are effective, if you only use them correctly.

For years I carried two holy medals on my keychain: Saint Dymphna (who guards against mental illness) and Saint Peregrine (who guards against cancer).

Somehow both of them disappeared from my keychain some years ago. And look what happened!

I found Peregrine and put him back on my keychain a few weeks ago, and told him to get back to work.

Also: Partner, being a cradle Catholic and understanding my state of mind, recently gave me a medal of Saint Blaise (who guards against afflictions of the throat).

Whatever happens now, I’m prepared

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

4 Responses to Saints and talismans

  1. St. Blaise! I remember going every year to one of those services where you listen to blah, blah, blah, then get in the long double-line down the center aisle to receive a blessing. On St. Blaise day, the priest would put candles crossed ‘x’ shape to your neck (the ‘x’ junction met at your adam’s apple, or whatever the female version of that is) and blessed your throat. I wish I believed in church precepts and that God, because I love the trappings and rituals.

  2. starproms says:

    Well, we’re all routing for you Loren and that will help.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: