Saints and Shyness


#1

Does anyone know of a saint who had to overcome extreme shyness as a child? I would like my daughter to read about them and pray to them.


#2

Sorry I dont know of a patron saint of shyness.

However, I am painfully shy and very introverted myself. This caused me a lot of greif because I was I was trying to get over both as if they were disorders. As God gradually had me accept myself for how he made me, I became happier and in turn less shy.

Try to help your daughter see shyness as part of who she is. And instead of trying to overcome it, help her learn how to deal with all those darn extroverts running around.

A decent book for this is “Living Fully with Shyness and Social Anxiety” by Erika B. Hilliard, and you can get it pretty cheap online.


#3

Sometimes being shy or “introverted” can make a person very sensitive, perceptive, creative and spiritual. Instead of looking at her temperment as a bad thing…capitalize on the positives. The meek shall inherit the earth…
In some ways, it is a blessing if early on in life she is not getting her sense of value from other kids, but from an interior source. I don’t know of any saints who were known for being shy…but many of them were very “interior” and did not fit in…or were percieved as wierd or eccentric. To be honest, most of these kids at school are going to be doing stupid things in a few years and she is better off not being so caught up with them. This is not say she shouldn’t have friends, but just that being out of the crowd is not a bad thing.
I was also a very shy kid…I am still introverted, but to be honest I think it has enhanced my relationship with God and saved me from following the crowd on many occassions.


#4

I don’t know the patron of shyness either. How old is your daughter?

My daughter Mary was very shy when she started pre-school. One day when my wife went to pick her up from school, the teacher greeted my wife with great news - “Mary spoke!”.

Mary is now 20 and a novice nun and has taken the name Sr Mary Philomena. She is extremely happy, fun to be around, and very well liked by all her sisters.

Her patron saint is St Philomena (martyred at the age of 13). I don’t think your daughter could go wrong if she prayed to her for intercession.

Hope this helps.

John Marie Philomena


#5

Awesome!! God bless your daughter :slight_smile:

St Philomena, pray for us.


#6

If you define shyness as the fear to speak in front of a crowd, my first thought is Moses.
And my second thought is that you look for saints who were called to a public life, including teaching and suffered from the fear of that instead of “shyness” per ce. Maybe other forum readers can come up with more than Moses then. :slight_smile:

Have a good day!


#7

[quote=matt73]However, I am painfully shy and very introverted myself. This caused me a lot of grief because I was I was trying to get over both as if they were disorders. As God gradually had me accept myself for how he made me, I became happier and in turn less shy.
[/quote]

Good point, Matt73. It can take enough energy trying to learn the skills and carry out the skills that come naturally to extraverts without also having the feeling that what your preferences are either wrong or not the norm.

And instead of trying to overcome it, help her learn how to deal with all those darn extroverts running around.

One thing I found changed things from me was being told about “open questions” those that cannot be answered by “yes” or “no”.

I became able to use the time the person was talking to think up another question, if their answer didn’t give me somethnig to comment on.

A decent book for this is “Living Fully with Shyness and Social Anxiety” by Erika B. Hilliard, and you can get it pretty cheap online.

Another helpful book is “The Highly Sensitive Person” How to Thrive when the World Overwhelms You" by Elaine N. Aron. This book is also helpful for those who are more sensitive to noise, light, heat etc.

I get concerned sometimes when “shy” people especially children get labelled as shy as this can intensively the situation. Either the person gets so worried about being shy and not talking that the problem gets worse or people, including teachers either push the child to talk too much and increase their anxiety or not expect them to talk and so they don’t.


#8

I’m glad to see people posting about shyness on Catholic Answers. I’m very shy myself. I almost never get out of the house. I enjoy my own company very much. But for many years, I was told by various people that such a solitary life was a sin.

I eventually learned that such a view is not in line with official Church teaching. But the belief that keeping to oneself is a sin haunted me for years.

Basically, I was told: if you am not out doing enormous penances, charities, and “good works,” serving the Church, volunteering at the soup kitchen, helping the homeless, etc., you will be guilty of sloth and laziness, will be in mortal sin, and will be sent straight to Hell.

Since I spend almost ALL my time by myself, and have no real inclination to do any of these things, I was incredibly disturbed by this belief. I was finally shown that all these things are simply there IF WE WISH TO DO THEM. It is most certainly NOT a mortal sin not to do them, according to official Catholic teaching. Millions of Roman Catholics live alone, go nowhere, do no real “good works” to speak of. Even Saint Theresa of Lisieux never went anywhere or did much of anything. And the Roman Catholic Church has NEVER declared such people to be on the way to Hell. Such an idea is from outside the Church. And it is terrifying for no better reason than to be terrifying.

I cannot help how God made me. I cannot help being powerfully introverted. I like being shy. It is how I want to live my life. As an intellectual, I think best when I’m alone, anyway. And there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change that. Least of all me. Trying to do or to think otherwise simply causes me needless stress.


#9

Sometimes shyness is percieved. If it bothors your daughter then let her ask for help.

Many people see me as shy. But anyone who knows me knows that I am really chatty....I'm just reserved in crowds.

I do things that don't really require me to be arounds crowds. I help in the kitchen during parish dinners...for the most part it's me and two or three guys and maybe another lady. I stuffed envolopes for one parish. I host parties at my house where I can control the amount of people and the length of the party. I think service work is still important for shy people...they just have to find their niech. I do not think shyness gets a person out of service work, nor does it commit one to hell.

Even Saint Theresa of Lisieux never went anywhere or did much of anything

False. While her mobility was limited to the convent she DID a huge deal. She served MANY cantankerous nuns with the utmost love. Heck, she even danced on the dinner table. She also prayed contemptavly a good deal which IS part of serving God. Some are called to pray more than others (though shyness dosn't necessarly draw one to that)


#10

You wrote: “I do not think shyness gets a person out of service work, nor does it commit one to hell.”

It is not a mortal sin not to do service work. End of story.

I’m glad you also added: “…nor does it commit one to hell.” This is absolutely true. Not doing service work is not sin in any way. If anyone insists otherwise, he/she would be in conflict with official Roman Catholic teaching, and would be wrong. This would constitute a subjective belief only. And no Roman Catholic is obligated to follow a subjective belief at all.

When I said “Even Saint Theresa of Lisieux never went anywhere or did much of anything,” you said “False. While her mobility was limited to the convent she DID a huge deal.”

Again, not doing service work is not a mortal sin in official Catholic teaching.

I mentioned Saint Theresa. She kept herself to herself. Whenever people began talking about how many “good works” they had to do to get to Heaven, Saint Theresa would quickly remind them that children (she considered herself a child) had NO good works to their names. But our Lord welcomed children most graciously into Heaven. Today, of course, Theresa is recognized as a Saint. Which reveals that the Catholic faith is a faith of gentleness, not of harsh demands.

Mother Theresa of Calcutta once said: “"I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, 'How many good things have you done in your life?' rather he will ask, 'How much love did you put into what you did?"

Mother Theresa also said: “"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving."

Too many Catholics worry about doing “service works.” Too many Catholics worry about how many “good works” are somehow necessary to get into Heaven.

Saint Theresa of Lisieux herself detested such thinking. She held that anyone engaging in such worries was dealing with fantasy. There is no “magic level” of service works that will somehow get you into Heaven. There is no “minimum amount” of service works that will somehow give you access to salvation. Such thinking is ridiculous, and will cause you only misery.

Good works happen when they happen. They happen when God moves the heart and the mind. You don’t have to go out looking for them. They are the province of God alone.

Even the Bible speaks of good works in this way: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, WHICH GOD PREPARED BEFOREHAND, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-9.) (My emphasis.)

Notice the wording: “…which God prepared beforehand.” These works were planned for us. They happen when they happen, at the time when God moves us to do them. And nobody can predict when God is going to move someone's heart to do a good work. It is quite out of our hands.

It is fine if you want to go out of your way to do service works. But that's your thing. Don’t ever talk about such works as if every Catholic is somehow obligated to do them. They happen when they happen. These things are between God and us only.

You wrote: “Many people see me as shy. But anyone who knows me knows that I am really chatty....I'm just reserved in crowds.”

It is clear that you do not understand real shyness. Because you are not really shy yourself. It is plain that you don’t experience shyness the way I do in any way. Talking as if your experience of “shyness” and mine are comparable is simply wrong. They are nothing alike, as far as I can tell.


#11

,

we are all called to serve. Plain and simple. To know, love and SERVE God…you know that pesky chatechism quote?
Does it have to be as an MC for a youth conference? Absolutely not. But everyone should serve humanity for love of God. He didnt make us the body of Christ for nothin. For some this will simply mean contemplitave prayer. We cannot decide…it is up to the individual to descern from God.

I find your last bit off kilter and rather childish. I do not claim to be “like you” in any way. No two people are alike. Simply because i dont suffer from crippling social axiety (which can be improved with meds and psycology) dosn’t mean that i cannot be naturally introverted and shy in big groups. You are talking to someone who did not attend a single party in college and only took classes with 20 students or less. I do not like big groups or even filled elevadors. In a city i often cant even bring myself to speak. However i am known as the friendiliest person at my workplace to the rest of the building. At lunch with friends im known as the one with the mental encyclopedia and am asked about everything. I am the favorite storyteller or the three children I tutor. I also know ll the best places in each and every building i spend more than 30 minutes in so i can grab a quiet recharge for a minute . ,


#12

Once again, it is not a mortal sin not to do service work. Enough said.


#13

Just whatever you do, be careful not to start repeatedly telling her how “shy” she is or you’ll only make it worse. Slapping a label on the child all the while somehow expecting them to act contrary to what you say they ARE as a person sends a confusing mixed message, and this just opens up other potential issues.

I have no idea whether you’d actually do that or not; I only mention it because that’s what my dad would do with me. Then again my dad is a very disordered person in several ways so maybe it’s just people like him that might do something like that, and maybe this is all just blindingly obvious to competent parents. :shrug:


#14

[quote="matt73, post:2, topic:176215"]
Sorry I dont know of a patron saint of shyness.

However, I am painfully shy and very introverted myself. This caused me a lot of greif because I was I was trying to get over both as if they were disorders. As God gradually had me accept myself for how he made me, I became happier and in turn less shy.

Try to help your daughter see shyness as part of who she is. And instead of trying to overcome it, help her learn how to deal with all those darn extroverts running around.

A decent book for this is "Living Fully with Shyness and Social Anxiety" by Erika B. Hilliard, and you can get it pretty cheap online.

[/quote]

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

I'm just like that myself. and i'm pretty old now. I learned to accept myself . I also try to do contrary action, it's what my pych. Dr. advised me to do, and hey it works. It just getting over that little hurdel thats the hard part.

God bless

jesus g


#15

I am very shy too. My mother always treated my shyness negatively, forcing me to make friends and talk to strangers, reprimanding me when I was too afraid to make a phone call, and telling me that shyness was selfish because I was only thinking of myself. I wish that she had just loved me how I was and told me it was ok to be shy. I am much more ok with my shyness now, and I'm actually much less shy because of that! I think part of shyness is a fear that people will not accept you for who you are... That somehow outgoing, talkative people are more worthy of admiration, and a quiet person is overlooked.

One time I was going to meet an acquaintance of mine's sister, and I was so incredibly nervous. I was being really hard on myself, trying to force myself to be friendly and open up. But then I decided to relax and just accept myself the way I was. I told myself, "It's perfectly ok to be shy." And what do you know? I felt so much better and relieved, that I talked the most of everyone during that meeting!

So my advice is to really convince your daughter that she is very loved and valuable just the way she is, and being more outgoing would not make her any better of a person.:)


#16

[quote="kristleful, post:15, topic:176215"]
I am very shy too. My mother always treated my shyness negatively, forcing me to make friends and talk to strangers, reprimanding me when I was too afraid to make a phone call, and telling me that shyness was selfish because I was only thinking of myself. I wish that she had just loved me how I was and told me it was ok to be shy. I am much more ok with my shyness now, and I'm actually much less shy because of that! I think part of shyness is a fear that people will not accept you for who you are... That somehow outgoing, talkative people are more worthy of admiration, and a quiet person is overlooked.

One time I was going to meet an acquaintance of mine's sister, and I was so incredibly nervous. I was being really hard on myself, trying to force myself to be friendly and open up. But then I decided to relax and just accept myself the way I was. I told myself, "It's perfectly ok to be shy." And what do you know? I felt so much better and relieved, that I talked the most of everyone during that meeting!

So my advice is to really convince your daughter that she is very loved and valuable just the way she is, and being more outgoing would not make her any better of a person.:)

[/quote]

This so cool. My mom was very supportive so was my dad. I can relate to everything except for the parents support. Did you by anychance hide behind books. I did, and today people ask me how I know so much, I tell them I read. Daily affirmations does work.

God bless

jesus g


#17

[quote="divinemercy48, post:1, topic:176215"]
Does anyone know of a saint who had to overcome extreme shyness as a child? I would like my daughter to read about them and pray to them.

[/quote]

St. Therese of Lisieux has said she was extremely shy and sensitive and socially awkward as a child. Maybe your daughter would enjoy reading her autobiography?


#18

[quote="divinemercy48, post:1, topic:176215"]
Does anyone know of a saint who had to overcome extreme shyness as a child? I would like my daughter to read about them and pray to them.

[/quote]

Yes - my daughter Mary was extremely shy. OK, she hasn't been declared a saint yet, but in her defense, she is still alive.

She was so shy when she went to pre-school, that she did not speak. After a couple of weeks, my wife went to pick her up and the teacher greeted my wife and exclaimed "Mary spoke!"

Anyway fast forward to now, she is a Dominican sister (in her 4th year) and she and the other sisters get along great. She has an incredible sense of humor and has no fear in speaking with anyone, or even speaking in front of a large group.

Her patron is St Philomena.


#19

[quote="jesuspsr, post:16, topic:176215"]
This so cool. My mom was very supportive so was my dad. I can relate to everything except for the parents support. Did you by anychance hide behind books. I did, and today people ask me how I know so much, I tell them I read. Daily affirmations does work.

God bless

jesus g

[/quote]

I don't know if I hid in books, but I definitely read constantly! I would go to the library each week and check out a towering stack of chapter books. I used to make up characters in my head and create stories for them, acting them out as I did chores or played around the house with my siblings. A good effect of my shyness was that I was VERY attached to my siblings (in my teens, when I started driving and running errands, I was too afraid to go unless I took a sibling or two with me), so through the years we've developed such a strong bond that will last throughout adulthood.


closed #20

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