My beautiful friend Ann Burt, who I first met on these pages, (and later in real life in her hometown of Raleigh, NC!) has found a vocation making retablos. The small devotionals are labors of love; Ann runs a decorative painting business for a living. My husband and I gave a retablo to our son Gabriel, on his Confirmation day.
I have just ordered a slew of them for friends in my life who are marking milestones and who have special devotion to a particular saint. I was so excited when Ann emailed me this afternoon to say: “St. Bernard and his traveling companions are on their way. Sorry I tried to get him out this morning but was not quite finished :(“
How blessed we are to have this Communion of Saints to accompany us to our destinies. Some folks might think we Catholics worship saints; we don’t. We do ask them to pray for us. We meditate on their lives in Christ in an effort to draw closer to Him. This week, all my retablo ordering got me wondering: Dear readers, who are your special saints?
In transit from Raleigh: For a girlfriend moving home to Milano, St. Bernard of Clairvaux; for a new teacher-friend who recently bought with her husband their first home: St. Joseph; for a School of Community friend who landed a job at Tulane University; St. Anthony of Padua. And finally, for a high school senior and friend of our family: St. Cecilia. I’m hoping this trumpeter will hang the retablo of the patron saint of music in his dorm room at university, where he will study music.
Only when I read, at Webster Bull’s recommendation, Fr. James Martin’s spiritual memoir My Life with the Saints, did I understand what they might offer us. Writes Fr. Martin: “The lives of the saints, parts of which seem confusing, bizarre and misguided, are — when you know the whole story — really tales of love. And they can offer some important lessons for all of us. If we just let them.” So, once again, who is accompanying you toward your destiny, and why?