In honor of All Saints Day last week, Nov. 1, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate some of my favorite saints. As the feast day makes clear, there are a lot of saints! Some are “big saints,” and some are totally unheard of. We can learn from all of their stories in unique ways, but here is my personal line up:
- The Blessed Mother / The Virgin Mary – She is theologically considered the Queen of Heaven. She is quite literally appraised as the most holy human being to have ever walked the earth (besides Jesus, who is both human and divine), so she is number one on my list. But more than that, her story is beautiful. She said yes to a totally crazy plan of taking on the responsibility of bearing and raising the Son of God. Her life changed the world, and as a Catholic, I love to celebrate her and receive her motherly guidance and love. In my opinion, Mary is the best of the best.
- St. Anne – I may be biased in my love for St. Anne as an Anne myself, but I really look up to her as the patron saint of mothers. She is a role model for mothers and parents among others, and she raised Mary, who I have established as the best. So, it’s safe to say that there is a lot to celebrate about St. Anne.
- Pope St. John Paul II – Let’s look at St. Pope JP II. I have a lot of love for him for several reasons. I connect with JP II a lot on the basis of my own Polish heritage; I love learning about his upbringing and background and connecting it with my own ancestry. But more than this, I love how outspoken JP II was. I absolutely adore his connection to Our Lady of Fatima. Plus, the fact that he survived what would have been a fatal gun wound on the anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima is pretty amazing, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. If you do some reading on this miracle, it’s pretty cool.
- St. Teresa of Calcutta/ Mother Teresa – I think Mother Teresa, who was just recently canonized, is such a wonderful example of radical love. Her gentle and beautiful love and service toward communities in Calcutta India is absolutely breathtaking. Beyond that, her words are so inspiring. This is one of my favorite of her quotes: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” How true is that?
- St. Josemaria de Escriva – My pastor from home always mentions St. Josemaria in his homilies. As I’ve learned about his life, however, I totally understand why. St. Josemaria had an excellent amount of wisdom. One of the most memorable and important of his many sayings, in my opinion, is this: “a saint is a sinner who keeps trying.” Wow. St. Josemaria reminds us that anyone and everyone can be a saint.
Hopefully, in memory and in light of these saints and many others, as we celebrate All Saints Day, we can gather inspiration. In the words of St. Ignatius, “go forth and set the world on fire!”