Are You a Saint in the Making?

If you follow me in social networking venues, you’ll know that I’m somewhat obsessed with the lives of the saints. I blame/credit my parents, who first introduced me to these holy men and women in childhood and fostered in their children a deep desire for faith in our own lives. In those early years, seeds were planted that blossomed into full flowers when my publisher invited me to write a book on the lives of the saints.

Imagine the luxury of someone saying to a saint-lover, “Choose your favorites, ponder your own feelings about them, and share them with others.” The earliest draft chapters were met with resistance on the part of my editor — they read like Bulters, but were far less authoritative and eloquent. In sending me back to the drawing board to come up with something that was more personal, Editor Eileen struck a match in my soul. Each day, when I study the life of and pray through the intercession of a new saint or blessed, I send up a prayer of gratitude for her invitation to know these men and women according to my own terms.

Contemplating the lives of the saints in this way can feel self indulgent. My morning prayer routine (an interesting concoction that I’ll share at a later date) includes checking one of my all-time favorite websites: Saints.SQPN.com. At this vast warehouse of saintly treasures, my friend Terry — a hagiography hobbiest and tech genius — has created a living, breathing encyclopedia of saints. For each day of the year, there are usually over a dozen different saints listed. Each saint has a page filled with biographical data, quotes, artwork depictions and a full list of link resources. Along with podcasts by my dear friends Pat Gohn (Among Women) and Dr. Paul Camarata (SaintCast), the pages of Saints.SQPN.com have brought the saints to life in my heart.

Most days, I try to challenge myself to “meet” a new intercessor, to learn about his or her life, and to look at it in the context of my own spiritual struggles and blessings. I compose a short prayer through the intercession of my new spiritual friend, and sometimes brazenly share those on my Pinterest “Saints” board. I don’t do this out of a sense of “Look how holy I am…“, but rather with a desire to share my love of the saints with my online friends. In coming to know their stories, we learn about history, art, and the culture of their time, along with the obvious spiritual role model of heroic virtue they provide.

St. Alonso Rodriguez, 1522-1617

For example, today, I chose to pray through the intercession of St. Alonso (or Alphonsus) Rodriguez. St. Alphonsus joins a growing number of “heavenly porters” I’ve met in my studies — a simple, relatively uneducated man who found his way to sanctity by opening the door for others (literally and figuratively). St. Alonso’s life was filled with the ups and downs that plague so many of us, and yet he never gave up hope. He also didn’t take “no” for an answer when repeatedly met with the feedback that he wasn’t smart enough to fulfill his desired vocation. Somehow, I feel like he had the last laugh…

As we prepare to celebrate “All Hallow’s Eve”, All Saints Day and All Souls Day this week, I would love to know about the place of the saints in your life. Are the saints present in your intercessory prayers? Do they serve as role models for you? Or do you simply find them interesting but distant and impersonal? Do you have favorite resources and books that have helped you to better know and love the saints? And be sure to tell me the name of your favorite saint too (whether canonized formally or simply a member of the communion of saints), and why that intercessor means so much to you.

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.

  • Mark S.

    If I am a saint in the making it is because I am being made into one by God”s actions. My mediocre cooperation in the process reinforces the teachings that none of us get to heaven on our own merits. This journey of life is rocky and full of danger, it is only by holding fast to the Lord that we will be saved.

    • lisahendey

      Mark, agreed — 100%. My favorite Irish pastor used to tell us he’d be thrilled if he “got one baby toe into purgatory”…

      Wondering: who is your “favorite” saint or patron? Or does it vary depending upon the day and the intercession needed?

  • http://ashowerofroses.blogspot.com Sara

    We each choose a new patron saint for the year at the beginning of Advent, and pray for their intercession each night. Usually, it’s someone we just learned about and grew attached to. For me, I seem to choose St. Monica every time I send another child off to college!

  • Margaret Rose Realy

    Each morning I pray a rosary with Mother Mary and ask four saints, three blesseds, and my Guardian Angel to pray with us. I guess I need all the help I can get.

    My patron since I was four is St. Mary Magdalene, and she’s my go-to gal. To choose a favorite is like trying to pick my favorite flower! That being said…a 14″ St. Fiacre statue stands on my desk, St. Francis DeSales is taped to the monitor, and Mother Teresa looks on from above the lamp.

    (Maybe I should share pics and their story in my next column at CM.)

  • http://www.catholicmom.com Lisa Hendey

    Margaret that would be awesome!!

  • http://www.dianarjenkins.bravehost.com Diana Jenkins

    St. Therese of Liseux has been my favorite saint since childhood. Her little way appealed to me then and still does today.

  • http://Www.equippingcatholicfamilies.com Monica @ equipping Catholic families

    I feel a little obsessed with the saints too…especially right now, because I just launched my first saints-centric craft kit! I’ve always been fascinated with these awesome role models and I’m always looking for ways to pass on the fascination to my kids. I just can’t help thinking that somehow there’s a way to present the saints…every bit as inspiring and cool as superheroes, and way more virtuous than even the cleanest celebrities….or as appealing as whatever the latest craze of trading card characters. I realize the pictures I have used…are probably a little too ‘cute’ for the older kids, but I didn’t want to infringe on any copyright. This project also motivates (or justifies =) my other recent saint-centric hobby….painted wooden saints. You’ll see what I mean. I only have 18 saints so far, but I’m looking forward to adding many more…studying their lives and compiling them into a neat little package for kids.
    http://www.equippingcatholicfamilies.com/2012/10/super-saints-card-game-new.html

  • Leslie Lenko

    As there are many times when a request for prayers come from friends or family for either an illness or a difficult situation, I turn to St Padre Pio for his intercession. I believe this holy saint actively intercedes for those who with great faith prays to him. There have been so many cases of family praying to him at a hospital for a loved one and that child or adult being cured. They are also other saints that I pray to, but when it is time for some very serious prayers for others, I find him the best to turn to. He has a great connection to Holy Mother as well. Thank you Lisa!

  • Ted Seeber

    The wanting to be a saint is almost enough pride to disqualify becoming a saint.

  • Pingback: All Saints: Are you Parental, Praying or Partying?

  • Diane

    Shout out to St. John the Beloved! He’s been an amazing patron

  • http://catholicland.blogspot.com SWP

    My wife and I dressed as Sts. Isidore and Maria for school today.
    She teaches Kindergarten, and had a saint parade with her students.
    I teach Religion, and I offer extra credit points to anyone who submits a Saint biography. I refer them to the SQPN website if they ask who they should write about.
    I love learning about the Lives of the Saints- I like to tell the kids about St. Ignatius, who read the Lives while convalescing, and became a Saint himself.
    My favorite Saint? That’s tough to narrow down. I was educated by Jesuits, and so learned to admire those saints. I like St. Lucy’s Day, and it was the day I married. I like my confirmation saint, Aquinas. I like the Carmelite mystics. I really like St. Philip Neri. He might be my favorite, because he was JOYful.


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