Is there a patron saint for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
St. Thorlak, patron saint of Iceland, is currently being proposed for this role by a group.
Also, Servant of God Leonie Martin is likely to be regarded as an autism patron assuming she proceeds on the path to sainthood.
Patronages usually arises from the things a Saint experienced in their lives.
As Autism was not diagnosed until the early 20th century, only speculation can be made about dx’s for those who died before our modern era.
No one is suggesting otherwise. At the same time, if a saint from a past century seemed to struggle with similar issues to autism sufferers today, it’s reasonable to consider him or her a patron.
Really, ANY saint can be your patron but if the idea is to find one who was facing similar challenges to autism sufferers, those are out there, even if they did not have a formal diagnosis of autism. It’s not like the saint, who is in Heaven, is going to be adversely affected by being made a patron saint of a particular illness that he may or may not have had.
I just love dear little Leonie who had such a hard time fitting in
St. Dymphna, patron saint of mental/nervous disorder? I’m not sure if a neurodevelopmental disorder would fit here.
Or Bl. Margaret of Castello, patron saint of the disabled?
St Raphael for healing
Knowing what we know now, I wonder sometimes if a lot of the contemplatives, ascetics, and mystics of the Church had some variety of autism.
I am not suggesting that this is a bad thing, just that their neural makeup may have made them more inclined to a life that focuses entirely on God and shuns the world.
Do monasteries and convents in the present day screen for ASD? I wonder what would happen if a person went to them and said “I want nothing more out of life than to contemplate Our Lord continually, to do penance for my sins and the sins of the whole world, and to give glory to His Divine Majesty in prayer and silence”? Sounds like the perfect contemplative vocation to me.
I know there is such a thing as crippling autism that renders a person unable to function normally, but I wonder if a touch of, for instance, Asperger syndrome, is actually a plus. Many occupations require hyper-focus on the task at hand, and social ease and affability is not the be-all and end-all of life.
You’re probably right. Even today, you can tell when an occupation heavily attracts people with the tism.
Just as an example, I work in mathematics research, and I would say at least 75% of the people here have some form of asd (myself included). Now think about how many medieval monks had a strong interest in mathematics and logic, and you can just put two and two together.
Thanks for the link! Shared it with my wife, who works in the field.
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