One of the things that Catholics believe is that you can ask saints for stuff. They're buddies with God, so they try to work something out on you behalf. Certain saints handle certain types of requests. For example, St John the Baptist, who got beheaded is the guy to go to for headaches. The Virgin Mary is the go-to for absolutely everything, since she's got the closest relationship. There are spheres of influence and specialists for certain things.
You can also go to your own relatives, if you're pretty sure they're in heaven. I think the idea here is that God is too busy to do anything for you directly. But then the Virgin Mary would be just as busy, if not more so, with all those Rosaries that everybody prays. So your own relatives might not have a lot of influence, but at least they have time.
The first problem is that they might be in purgatory. You can't go to heaven unless you've pennanced away all of your sins, or never sinned or got baptised right before death (since baptism wipes away all sins without need for pennance). If you died and you've repented you sins but not done enough penance, you go to purgatory where you suffer like hell until you've atoned for your wrong doing. Fortunately, you living family members can help you out by praying to get you out of purgatory. Let me tell you, it's not comforting sitting at your grandmother's funeral when everybody including the priest assumes she's currently burning for her sins.
However, I have some relatives who were (unofficially, of course) proclaimed to be saints upon their passing. One of these was my cousin who didn't die too long ago. She was a nun and a scientist and she did groundbreaking research on ticks. Yesterday, my infection was getting smaller and I didn't want to have to go to a hospital today (it's hard to just walk into a GP office here. The one I went to in the Winter didn't even have a receptionist. A machine answered the phone.).
All of the other nuns and several other folks were convinced of my cousin's sainthood. I could ask her for help without having to worry about whether she's in purgatory (and not feel guilty for not praying her out of it - sorry mom). And talk about a perfect match for a tick-related woe!
So I asked her (and her brother for good measure) to please ask around on my behalf and it would be really great if when I woke up in the morning, the infection would just be gone. It would be totally awesome and not completely improbable, so c'mon, help your cousin out.
When I woke up this morning, it was larger and more inflamed than ever. I'm pissed off. I went to visit her in the old folks home, I spoke at her funeral. I mean, if it were the same size, that would be one thing, but it's actually bigger. I can't remember if I also asked her for help getting into Berkeley. Maybe that's why I got rejected. Thanks for nothing!
Ok, ok, it's not fair. It's not even rational. Sometimes I think misdirected anger isn't all bad. Next time I'll try St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.