Happy ADHD Awareness Month 2019—also the month of the Most Holy Rosary! Inspired by the saints who have kept me (and so many others) in focus and productivity, I wrote a book all about being Catholic and having ADHD. I’m happy to introduce Catholicism and ADHD: Finding Holiness Despite Distractions.
Let’s take a look at some saints who are solid intercessors for ADHDers. (There have been no saints who have officially been diagnosed with ADHD.)
St. Anthony of Padua
ADHDers constantly misplace things. Including the patron saint of lost items in this list is a no-brainer.
St. Dymphna is the patron of mental illness and other conditions affecting the brain.
St. Eugène de Mazenod
St. Eugène is the patron saint of dysfunctional families/families in crisis. If you read his story, you will undoubtedly see that he is a prime example of not letting yourself be defined by the struggles of your life.
St. John Vianney
It took St. John Vianney a while to get through seminary because of his academic struggles. However, once ordained, he proved that academic struggles do not doom someone to a life of mediocrity.
St. Joseph of Cupertino
Like St. John Vianney, St. Joseph of Cupertino struggled academically. He failed to complete his schooling. His shoemaking apprenticeship was also unsuccessful. He got kicked out of a religious order because of his academic struggles. He would get so distracted that he would forget to eat or would drop plates. However, once he found his place in the world (namely, the stables of a religious order), he thrived, which gave his religious order the confidence to give him another shot at becoming a priest. His ordination happened thanks to two minor miracles that allowed him to pass the examinations for the diaconate and the priesthood.
St. Monica’s persistent prayers for her pagan husband and wild-child son (St. Augustine) are a great example for parents and spouses of those with ADHD who can sometimes cause annoyances to those closest to them (although, not intentionally).
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
St. Thérèse is best known for her “Little Way” and how she endured many sufferings in her life. But, one aspect of her story that is often overlooked is her struggles with focusing while praying, with which she struggled mightily, especially when praying the rosary.
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas was called the “Dumb Ox” by his schoolmates and even some of his teachers because he appeared to not understand the course material. One of his classmates offered to tutor him. Not wanting to embarrass his peer, Thomas agreed. When his tutor got to a difficult section of the material, Thomas was able to explain it perfectly. Later in life, he was attending a dinner party at a prominent person’s house. In the middle of the meal, Thomas, who was being very quiet, suddenly slammed his fist on the table and shouted, “That will show the Manichaeans!” The host quickly ordered someone to bring him some paper so he could write down his thoughts before he forgot them.
To learn more about these saints and how ADHD affects Catholics, please check out my book, Catholicism and ADHD: Finding Holiness Despite Distractions, which is now available on Amazon!