My Top Ten Favorite Saints

Friday, January 2, AD 2015

I have always thought it says a lot about Catholics as to whether they have favorite saints, and who they are if they do have special saints.  Here are my top ten.

10.  Saint Andreas Wouters-Most saints have been extraordinary men and women.  That was decidedly not the case with Andreas Wouters!  A scandalous priest, he fathered several children.  Suspended from his priestly duties, he was living in disgrace when God granted him the opportunity to die a martyr’s death, an opportunity he seized with both hands like a drowning man cast a life line. His courage and steadfastness redeemed his life of sin.  May all of us have such a happy death as he did.  Go here to read about him.

 9.  Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ-Not canonized yet, I have no doubt that “God’s Jester” is a saint in Heaven.  During the Cristeros Rebellion in Mexico, he adopted many disguises to bring the sacraments to the Mexican people.  A lover of jokes, he is proof positive that saints need not be solemn.  When the Mexican government executed him, a death he met with incredible courage, the officials took copious pictures which appeared in newspapers.  The strategy backfired with Cristeros troops treating the pictures as precious relics and carrying them with them into battle.  Go here to read about him.

 8.  Saint Marianne Cope– Throughout my life I have been blessed with the friendship of strong women, starting with the love of my formidable sainted mother, and perhaps that is why I have always been drawn to strong female saints.  Few have been stronger than Mother Marianne and her nuns who pioneered the care for female lepers in Hawaii.  No difficulty or danger could deter her from bringing God’s love to her lepers.  Go here to read about her.

 7.  Venerable Matt Talbot-Some saints become famous during their lifetime and some, the vast majority no doubt, are known only to God.  Matt Talbot’s was a quiet path to sainthood that would be known only to God, but for the accident of his dying on a street in Dublin.  However, God does not see as man sees, and I have always thought that this reformed drunk ranks high among the champions of Christ.  Go here to read about him.

 6.  Saint Kateri Tekakwitha-Some saints God decides to distinguish with miracles after their death.  Such was the case of Lily of the Mohawks.  Go here to read about her.

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15 Responses to My Top Ten Favorite Saints

  • We all have our favorite saints, but I feel all lists should have the following: Mary, Joseph, and John the baptist. Mary conceived with out sin mother of God; Joseph – at conception had original sin on his soul only to have God remove it a second later – he never sinned again- protector of Jesus and Mary – the hardest role any man could undertake; John the baptist from the moment in Elizabeth’s womb to the day he died, he never took his eyes off of God and the proclaiming of the coming of the savior.

  • Chesterton once wrote something along the lines of, the Bible is a riddle and the Church is the answer. Both evangelicals and atheists treat Christianity as the Bible, but a document can’t be a religion. The Church can only be properly understood by including the lives of its holiest members. They explain the faith in practice.

    I’m not sure who my top ten would be, but St. Catherine of Siena would be at least a close #2. No disrespect intended to the Blessed Mother. I wish we knew more of Our Lady’s life and words. I’m just able to feel closer to those saints who were authors. Thomas Aquinas would definitely be on my top ten, along with Francis de Sales. All three are Doctors of the Church, with both Catherine’s and Francis’s thinking being influenced by Thomism.

    And, as I say every year, thank you for bringing St. Andreas Wouters to my attention!

  • May I respectfully add St Anthony of Padua, and St Therese of Lisieux, both saints of the “impossible”, without which my life would be completely a different [and not-a-better] one. Yet again, nothing is impossible for God.

  • I don’t know much about St. Anthony of Padua, so I just looked him up on Wikipedia. He impressed the Dominicans with his theology and the Franciscans with his simplicity? Hard to think of greater praise than that.

  • Saints preserve us. The Immaculate Conception is a most fascinating person.

  • Like most Catholics, I have a list of “saint/friends”. In addition to our Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, the Little Flower (& approximately 20 others I ask for intercession) I always include St. Dymphna, the patroness of mental stress & duress – seems fitting in THESE times, St Michael for protection against the evil one, St Joseph of Cupertino for his excellent acceptance of his limitations & his great humility, St Theresa Benedicta for her embrace of conversion & St Maximillian Kolbe for his love of God, Mary & others. Thank you for sharing your list – I love learning about our friends in heaven who want nothing more than to help us achieve heaven!

  • My daughter’s are named Joan, (Joan of Arc) Katherine(Mother Katherine Drexel) . Maria(Maria Goretti). My other’s are St. Francis Cabrini, Venerable Matt Talbot, Blessed Miguel Pro, St. Gianna Molla and St. Camillius, just to name a few.

  • Jeanne Rohl: One of my favorite saints is Camillus de Lellis simply because I too, have taken seven decades to obey God’s vocation, and if God can love him, then God can love me, too. Aren’t all saints mirrors of God love?

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  • Well said Pinky.
    I hope one day we have Saint Chesterton.

    As I love read about Crusades my list of favorite saints will include st Louis ix, st Dominic, blessed Urban II, st. Joan Darc, st Bernard, st Thomas Aquinas. But also st Catherine laboure, st. Maximilian Kolbe, then of course Our Lady of Grace.
    I think that he was perhaps too violent but I admire a lot Richard The lionheart.
    I will research about your favorite saints, Donald, I love what you said on st Andreas and Matt Talbot.

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  • good day everyone….i end my mass, rosary and prayers with intercessions from my saints and they are: 1) Mary hrough Her Immaculate Heart, 2) St. Joseph, 3) St. Michael the Archangel, 4) St. Anthony of Padua, 5) St. Francis of Assisi, 6) St. John Vianney, 7) St. Padre Pio, 8) San Pedro Calungsod (2nd Filipino saint and am a Filipino, lol), 9) St. Pope John Paul II (i was 18 years old when he became our pope), 10) St. Therese of the Child JESUS, 11) St. Therese of Avila, 12) St. Claire of Assisi, 13) St. Faustina of the Divine Mercy, 14. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and 15) Blessed Pope Paul VI. Thanks everyone and God bless all….

  • Pedro Eric: “I think that he was perhaps too violent but I admire a lot Richard The lionheart.”
    .
    Strength from heaven above cannot be too forceful.

  • Our Lady is in a class all by herself, above all the saints and angels.

    My faves:
    Servant of God Queen Isabel the Catholic – drove out the infidel Muslims, unified Spain, cleaned up the government, appointed reformers to the Church in Spain, approved of Columbus’ voyage which led to more than two thirds of the Western Hemisphere becoming Catholic…
    St. Catherine of Siena, Servant of God Demetrius Gallitzin, the Apostle to the Alleghenies, Blessed Miguel Pro

  • Yes, all these extraordinary lives: but Padre Miguel Pro—a man who was absolutely fearless, even facing the fusiliers. So much for “…Proselytism is such solemn nonsense:” uttered by another nonsensical Jesuit, irony in a class by itself.

Saint Thomas Aquinas on the Hail Mary

Wednesday, January 1, AD 2014

And again the name, ‘Mary’ befits her, which is (also) interpreted as ‘Star of the Sea,’ for as by this star seafarers are directed to port, so are Christians guided to glory by Mary.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Prologue

There are three things contained in this (angelic) salutation. The first part comes from the Angel, Gabriel, namely, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” The second part comes from Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, namely, “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” The Church adds the third part, to wit, “Mary,” for the Angel did not say, “Hail, Mary,” but rather, “Hail, full of grace.” Still, this name ‘Mary,’ according to its meaning, befits the Angel’s words, as we shall see.

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee”

With respect to the first part, consider that in ancient times it was exceedingly great for an Angel to appear to men, or, that men might offer them reverence was held to be a great honor. Hence, to the honor of Abraham it is written that he received angelic guests and showed them reverence. That an Angel reverence a man, however, was never heard of until the Angel reverently greeted the Blessed Virgin, saying, “Hail.”

That in ancient times the Angel did not reverence man, but rather man reverenced the Angel comes from the fact that the Angel is greater, and greater with respect to three things. First, with respect to dignity, since the Angel is a spiritual nature: “You make your Angels to be spirits, etc.” (Ps. 103,4). Man, indeed, is corruptible by nature, for which reason Abraham said: “I am speaking to the Lord, I, who am but dust and ashes” (Gen 18,27). Second, with respect to their familiarity with GOD, for the Angel belongs to the household of GOD (‘familiaris’) inasmuch as he assists Him. “A thousand times a thousand minister to Him, and ten thousand myriads assist Him.” (Dan 7,10). Man, though, is like a stranger, set off from GOD by sin: “I withdrew in flight” (Ps 54,8). Therefore, it was fitting that man should reverence the Angel as one on close and familiar terms with the king (‘propinquum and familiarem regis’!). Third, the Angel took preeminence on account of the plenitude of the splendor of divine grace. The Angels, namely, participate in the light of divine grace itself in the very highest degree. “Is there any number to His armies upon whom His light does not arise?” (Job 25,3). And this is why they always appear with light. But men, even though they participate somewhat in the light of grace, do so only slightly and in obscurity.

Consequently, it was unfitting that men be shown reverence until someone should be found in this (human) nature who exceeds the angels in these three points. And this was the Blessed Virgin. In order to indicate that she exceeded them in these three points the Angel wished to offer her reverence, saying “Hail.”

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8 Responses to Saint Thomas Aquinas on the Hail Mary

  • When we bless ourselves, and every person and the world around us, we give testimony to what already is. One Hail Mary

  • It is amazing to me that many people who refer to themselves as Bible Christians (I encountered an unpleasant one on the Internet yesterday) disregard this entire section of St. Luke’s Gospel. Nobody else in Scripture is referred to as Maria is by the angel St. Gabriel. “Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you.” Fr. Pablo Straub put it very well. He stated, “Fullness of grace is total absence of sin.”

    It is a shame that Marian devotion has declined in the days after the Second Vatican Council. I remember seeing a picture on the Internet of the cathedral in St Louis completely filled for a novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help during WWII.

    Happy New Year to you and your family, Mr. McClarey. This item is well worth repeating on the Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25.

  • “Happy New Year to you and your family, Mr. McClarey. This item is well worth repeating on the Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25.”

    Same to you and your family PF! I will do so. The reflections of the Angelic Doctor on the Hail Mary is definitely a keeper. A sign of Catholic orthodoxy has ever been a fervent devotion to the Mother of God.

  • I might be misreading this, but it seems as if Aquinas didn’t realize that it was still very rare for angels to appear to men. Could be a little insight into the man.

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  • “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” I think I will stand with St Thomas A.’s interpretation (“full of grace”) over and against the a-traditional a-scriptural Raymond A. Brown-inspired translation in the “New” NAB, “Hail, most highly favored one.”

  • Lot of speculations in this article.

Our Lady of the Sackcloth

Monday, March 4, AD 2013

 

The twentieth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here and here.  Kipling was something of a mystery when it came to religion.  He once jokingly referred to himself as a Christian Atheist.  However, religion not infrequently came up in Kipling’s poetry and prose.  For a Protestant he seemed to have a fondness for the Virgin Mary.  In his poem A Hymn Before Action we see this devotion in this stanza:

Ah, Mary pierced with sorrow,

Remember, reach and save

The soul that comes to-morrow

Before the God that gave!

Since each was born of woman,

For each at utter need —

True comrade and true foeman —

Madonna, intercede!

We also see this devotion in a poem Kipling wrote in the year before his death, Our Lady of the Sackcloth.  It is based on one of the stories in a 15th Century Ethiopian book, One Hundred and Ten Miracles of Our Lady Mary that had been translated into English in 1933.  At age 68 and his health declining I suspect Kipling saw himself in the role of the elderly priest who could only recall the daily prayer to the Virgin.  Note the reference to the Eucharist:  When the Bread and the Body are one.   Kipling’s poem reminds us that we are all beneficiaries of the love of the Mother of God, even though we are unaware of it:

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MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

1. The most bountiful God, who is almighty, the plan of whose providence rests upon wisdom and love, tempers, in the secret purpose of his own mind, the sorrows of peoples and of individual men by means of joys that he interposes in their lives from time to time, in such a way that, under different conditions and in different ways, all things may work together unto good for those who love him.[1]

2. Now, just like the present age, our pontificate is weighed down by ever so many cares, anxieties, and troubles, by reason of very severe calamities that have taken place and by reason of the fact that many have strayed away from truth and virtue. Nevertheless, we are greatly consoled to see that, while the Catholic faith is being professed publicly and vigorously, piety toward the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing and daily growing more fervent, and that almost everywhere on earth it is showing indications of a better and holier life. Thus, while the Blessed Virgin is fulfilling in the most affectionate manner her maternal duties on behalf of those redeemed by the blood of Christ, the minds and the hearts of her children are being vigorously aroused to a more assiduous consideration of her prerogatives.

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