First Circuit Court
Bev Vines-Haines

Annabelle Malloy lost control of her life in a way quite innocent and divine.  She misplaced her wedding ring and spent two frantic weeks searching, afraid to tell her high tempered and impatient husband, Angus. Desperate, she confessed the loss to her mother who recommended a novena to Saint Anne, patron saint of lost objects.  It worked.  Three days later, while carrying a case of homemade jellies and jams to the pantry, she discovered the ring at the bottom of the box.            

Another time, her oldest son broke his glasses.  Angus kept her on a strict and meager budget and often resorted to violence when she exceeded those funds.  Yet the child needed glasses to do his studies.  Frantic, Annabelle prayed to Saint Jude, patron of hopeless causes.  In a most peculiar circumstance, her brother Nathan sent her a check for an armchair he’d taken from their parent’s home, a chair once promised to her.  The check was much more welcome.            

As Angus’ temper grew more harsh and his fists a bit more swift, she took to cataloging her saints and their peculiar gifts in something akin to a recipe file.  Each morning she would get a feel for the day, fairly sniffing out the danger, the trouble spots and her heavenly needs.  Depending on those facts, she might spend an hour beseeching Adelaide and the other patron saints of abuse victims. She never made a purchase, traveled, bought groceries or saw a doctor without first throwing her concerns, her fears and her faith on the altar of the proper saint.             

She found deities for every season and reason.  From arthritis to grandmothers, gardens and kidney stones all the way to women in labor.  Day by day, situation by situation, she turned her decisions, her hours, her minutes and her life over to these capable specters.  She would open a cupboard to discover St. Angela Merici, patron for sick people or St. Catherine of Siena, patron against sexual temptation.            

Her absolution, her freedom, finally arrived the night she encountered St. Nicholas of Myra, patron of judges, standing in her shower.  He explained with a gentle voice that Angus was much too cruel to live.  One by one, St. Nicolas enumerated the offenses Angus had committed against Annabelle, the children and even the family pets.              

Annabelle nodded, her face nearly beatific as she knelt on her pink chenille rug.            

As usual, the saints delivered her.  They always knew the Father’s desires.  Rising, she lifted her beloved brass crucifix off its living room hook, carried it into the bedroom and planted it deep in Angus Malloy’s skull.   

First published: November, 2009
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