Tag Archives: St. Joanna

Tuning my heart with St. Joanna.

The robin outside my window this morning had his priorities straight. Before there was light enough to see by, before he even thought of going about his necessary business of sustaining himself by eating, he spent an hour and more in praise and song. I was unusually awake and he helped to me to tune my heart to the same frequency. Robin+vintage+graphic--graphicsfairy009bsm

That happy hour I spent with him was like a special gift I opened first thing on the occasion of my name day. In addition to┬áMyrrhbearers Sunday, which is a movable feast, St. Joanna is commemorated on June 27 every year. It’s a good day to head over to church and do a little garden work along with some celebrations in the church.

This blog post contains a good overview of what we know of St. Joanna. It is from a man who was planning to name his daughter Joanna, though he admits she is a “relatively minor saint.”

I had my own reasons for choosing Joanna as my patron saint when I converted to the Orthodox Church in 2007, which were not exactly the same as the following that an anonymous Christian listed in a comment on that blog in the same year, but I am grateful for her thoughts and have added them to my personal list:

1. She did what she could. She couldn’t stop the beheading of John the Baptist, but she could give his head a decent burial, and she did that.

2. She went where Christ was–the cross and the tomb. She didn’t go alone–she was part of a group. I want to go where Christ is, and I need to go with the Church.

3. She had a name we can pronounce in English.

4. She died peacefully.myrrhbearers st joanna

One thing I can definitely relate to in Joanna is that she needed the angels to tell her not to seek the living among the dead. These lines from a hymn for Myrrhbearers Sunday will be good for me to sing all day:

The angel came to the myrrhbearing women at the tomb and said:
Myrrh is meet for the dead;
But Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption!
So proclaim: the Lord is risen,
Granting the world great mercy!

A saint, a party, a hot day.

The most important thing, today, is that it is the day when we commemorate Saint Joanna, wife of Herod’s steward and follower of Christ, one of the women who came to the tomb to anoint His body, only to find that He was not there, because our Lord had risen from the dead.

I took the name of Joanna as my Orthodox, baptismal name when I converted, so “her day” is my day, and thoughts of her and her example, our communion in Christ, our prayers for each other, overshadowed the day with a sweetness. This evening, I was able to go to Vespers, always a blessed beginning of The Lord’s Day.

But I also went to a tea party given by a young friend. It was hot today, and we ate out of doors under an awning. The colors were refreshing, including the tea: green or passion fruit. It was iced tea, served in teacups.

My friends’ garden is always full of flowers, of few of which were happy to float in plenty of water, and in the shade, on such a day.

Salad was the perfect main course, followed by ice cream. I had no time to photograph the ice cream as I was too busy eating it before it melted.

When I came home, Mr. Glad let me know that as the forecast is for more heat tomorrow, he invited some other young friends to come and swim after church tomorrow. I immediately thought of how hungry kids get after swimming, and remembered that I had some cookie dough in the freezer. I can’t remember if I made the dough for Christmas or for a tea party, but no matter, it baked up into nice Cardamom Butter Squares tonight. Even on hot days, in our area, the nights are usually cool. If one has baking to do, it is best to do it in the evening so that all that oven heat dissipates before the next day. This is one way we manage without air conditioning.

In the background of the cookies, you can see some crayons and paper, tools for a very preliminary step toward designing a baby quilt I hope to make this summer. One step at a time…”inch by inch, it’s a cinch.”

It was a full and rich day, on many levels. As I drove home from Vespers, I even saw “my” goslings in the park!