By Richard Meek

The Catholic Commentator

Navigating the shark-filled waters of the modern dating pool might make for a tony Jaws sequel, but could it be singles really are looking for love in all of the wrong places?  

As internet dating sites and their lofty fees become the standard, tradition says single men and women need only look to the mother of Mary to answer their prayers.   

A catchy, although not particularly spiritually inspiring, slogan has even evolved through the years, one prayed by many women and occasionally the mothers of daughters: “St. Anne, bring me a man as fast as you can.”  

St. Anne is the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus, so when praying the St. Anne novena we are going directly through the Blessed Mother, our own spiritual mother.   

A devotion to St. Anne has a long history, dating to the early days of the Catholic Church. She is often considered the patron of mothers, as well as relationships, widows, married people and women who are pregnant.   

Stories abound about the novena’s success. One woman noted that a friend had petitioned St. Anne and shortly after met her future husband. So the woman prayed and a week after finishing her second novena to St. Anne met the man that would become her husband.   

However, success stories in saintly matchmaking are not confined to St. Anne. Single people in other parts of the world have found success in praying to a number of saints. Naturally, we know that St. Anthony is the go-to saint to help us find lost items, but in Portugal he is also considered the saint to pray to when looking for a spouse.  

There also exists an old French and English custom of women praying to St. Catherine of Alexandria to find a husband. St. Catherine was a patron of unmarried women as well as students and philosophers.  

Perhaps the most important message is that with all things in life, including surviving the treacherous world of dating, the only true answer comes through prayer.