Today, All Saints Day, is a feast that I have never been particularly good at, partly because I was rather poorly taught about saints. I just did not get them. I mean, of course I am interested in those folks performing (or at least experiencing) miracles, and I am in as much need of good role models as anyone.
The few saints I recall being taught about, though, well, they left much to be desired. St. Francis of Assisi had all the cool animals. My Grampie had an affection for St. Jude, because, like him, St. Jude was a champion of the underdog. Who doesn’t love a guy who is soft on hopeless cases? Somehow, St. Joseph helped my parents sell their home after they buried a small statue of him, upside-down, in the back yard. And of course, St. Patrick was the reason my people raise their pints and sing. (Though it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I knew anything at all about the historical accounts of his life and ministry.)
The women saints were all presented as meek, mild, and of course, virginal. All of their stories made them seem unattainably good, and to be honest, kind of boring. Well, with the exception of Joan of Arc, who fought battles heroically, then was burnt at the stake for heresy. I’m still unclear how she became a saint after that.
Lately, though, I have been in some powerfully engaging conversations about faithful women–some traditionally considered saints, others who are definitely worthy examples of valor, grace, and virtue. I still do not know enough about these saints to speak about them with any credibility, but I am learning.
I know that there is indeed a “great cloud of witnesses” that have gone on before me, making a way so that I can keep going.
So tell me who are the saints that are helping you along the way?