Friday, August 20, 2010

Fidgeta, Patron Saint of Facilitators

Ralph Brown, a consultant based in the Minnesota area, wrote us this summer to say he happened upon our site's praise for John's first book, Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies. Brown read the Fidgeta story in its original form, the 1965 edition of the Critic, and tells us he found it "roll-on-the-floor hilarious."

Though he admits to not having seen the story in decades, he still pays tribute to the tiny saint in his own way.

"I teach a course on facilitation skills – how to run meetings so people participate, things get done and time isn’t wasted. It once occurred to me there isn’t a patron saint for facilitators, one of the few occupations or activities still in need of one. As the Church is, or at least ought to be, engaged in more pressing matters, I took it upon myself to proclaim one. It seemed to me that dear St. Fidgeta is as likely a candidate as any other. Not being real is an obstacle, perhaps, but minor at most as the same holds true for many of her erstwhile contemporaries.

In my course preparation instructions to colleagues who also teach the course I’ve included this:

Softly say a prayer to St. Fidgeta, patron saint of facilitators (and restless and unmanageable children). When your session has gone too long, St. Fidgeta alerts you by making your participants mimic her classical motions.

Dear Saint Fidgeta, patroness of all that is innocent and protectress against those who would speak without end, look down upon our humble gathering and bless us with your belief in brevity and guide us in our effort to manage the unmanageable. Instill in us the sacred signs of ferver and motion so that we may know when our time has come. Bring us to breaks with divine frequency. Amen.

Indeed, this is no Fidgettine heresy! We are quite glad to know Fidgeta is still revered and called upon in times of need and suffering. Thanks for passing this along, Ralph!

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