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.

Joan of Arc: Saint of Courage

Friday, May 30, AD 2014

 

Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.

Sir Winston Churchill

Today is the feast day of Joan of Arc, but any day is a good day to celebrate Saint Joan.  One of the examples of the direct intervention of God in human affairs, the brief history altering life of Saint Joan of Arc has attracted the admiration of the most unlikely of men, including the Protestant Sir Winston Churchill, and the agnostic Mark Twain who called his book on Joan of Arc the finest thing he ever wrote.  She was not canonized until 1920, but almost all of her contemporaries who met her had no doubt that she was a saint sent by God.  Some of the English who were present as she was burned at the stake cried out that they were all damned because she was a saint.   Jean Tressard, the Treasurer of Henry VI, King of England, wrote the following soon after the execution of Joan:   ”We are all lost for it is a good and holy woman that has been burned. I believe her soul is in the hands of God, and I believe damned all who joined in her condemnation”.  With Saint Joan humanity came into contact with a messenger from God, and the result to her was as predictable as it was lamentable.  However, the outcome of her mission was exactly as she had predicted.  The weak Dauphin that she had crowned would reign as Charles VII and end the Hundred Years War in victory for France, something that none of his contemporaries thought remotely possible before Joan embarked on her mission.  With courage and faith she altered the course of the history of France and of all the world.

On January 26, 2011 Pope Benedict spoke of Saint Joan:

 

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9 Responses to Joan of Arc: Saint of Courage

  • I love ‘La Pucelle d’Orléans’.
    St. Jeanne D’Arc, the Maid of Orleans, pray for us.

  • “Serve God First!”
    St. Joan.

    J Jesus first in our lives.
    O Others second in our lives.
    Y Yourself always last.

    Joan had it. I pray God’s JOY be with all of us.

  • The Maid of Orleans is a personal hero of mine.It is fitting that the photo used for the article is from the movie version starring Leelee Sobieski, star of one of the best films about Ste. Jeanne d’Arc and the actress is really the only one who has portrayed her on film to be close to the real Joan’s age.I love The Passion of Joan of Arc also ; The Messenger,Luc Besson’s film, was interesting in its own way.Also the great books on Ste. Jeanne, on her trial, and on the Middle Ages by noted French scholar Regine Pernoud are absolutely invaluable to any student of St. Joan.Twain’s book is actually quite good too.

    All Americans should be very grateful to St.Joan of Arc.

    We would have unquestionably NOT won the revolutionary War had it not been for all of the invaluable assistance given us by France (including millions in loans – which we never paid back incidentally, protection of our shipping in the Mediterranean from both Britain and the Barbary Coast pirates during the war, at least 10,000 troops and an entire navy at Yorktown while another navy kept the British busy near India, etc. etc.) Without the appearance of Joan of Arc, it is highly unlikely that France would have re-emerged as anything other than a very small country which had been defeated by the Brits ; there would have been no France to aid us in our struggle against their age-old enemies, the bloody British.

  • To follow up on the excellent historical comments by Donald Smock,
    we not only have Saint Joan to thank for our Independence, but also that a good portion of France (perhaps all if the English had won the 100 years war) would have been forced into schism etc under Henry VIII. While the main impetus of the Catholic Reformation came from Spain and Italy, how much harder would this counter offensive to the Protestant revolution been made if we had to deal with a schismatic/even Protestant France [it almost happened as it was]

  • Jean Tressard, the Treasurer of Henry VI, King of England, wrote the following soon after the execution of Joan”: We are all lost for it is a good and holy woman that has been burned. I believe her soul is in the hands of God, and I believe damned all who joined in her condemnation.”
    History bears him out. The Scottish historian, Andrew Lang records, “They were all lost. The curse of their cruelty did not depart from them. Driven by the French and Scots from province to province, and from town to town, the English returned home, tore and rent each other; murdering their princes and nobles on the scaffold, and slaying them as prisoners of war on the field; and stabbing and smothering them in chambers of the Tower; York and Lancaster devouring each other; the mad Henry VI. was driven from home to wander by the waves at St. Andrews, before he wandered back to England and the dagger stroke—these things were the reward the English won, after they had burned a Saint. They ate the bread and drank the cup of their own greed and cruelty all through the Wars of the Roses. They brought shame upon their name which Time can never wash away; they did the Devil’s work, and took the Devil’s wages. Soon Henry VIII. was butchering his wives and burning Catholics and Protestants, now one, now the other, as the humour seized him.”

  • Amen. If we love God we will do His will. What a message I needed today in my decision making regarding which path to take –as His will is plain to me.

  • Without St. Joan of Arc, France would have been speaking English then, and German now. It is said that St. Joan’s heart would not burn even after three attempts. Her heart was thrown with her ashes into the Seine River. Her heart is probably still in the Seine River, incorrupt.
    .
    I love St. Joan of Arc.

  • Messrs Smock and Botolph,
    Firstly it is anachronistic to refer to ‘Brits’ in the context of the Hundred Years’ War. You presumably mean the English (the Scots sided with France), whose descendants went on to colonize the eastern seaboard of north America and founded the United States. Secondly, the deciding factor in the Hundred Years’ War was not Joan (who was betrayed by her own countrymen) but the decision of the Burgundians in 1435 to break off their alliance with England. Thirdly, in the 15th century England was arguably the most devoutly Catholic country in Europe – the Dowry of Mary, no less – and the Reformation was ushered in by the son of a Welsh usurper who had seized the Crown in 1485. Fourthly, French support for the American Revolution may have been crucial, but France paid a heavy price since it resulted in her own revolution in 1789 which was a disaster for France and for Europe in general; ironically it was Britain which emerged in 1815 as the undisputed world power.

    Joan’s trial and execution for heresy was a travesty and the verdict was quashed not long afterwards. But her canonization was political – in the aftermath of the Great War Rome wanted to appease the French Third Republic which had been bitterly hostile to the Church before 1914. Not long ago the French presented Winchester Cathedral (Anglican) with a statue of St Joan. She stands facing the tomb of Cardinal Beaufort who oversaw her condemnation.

Pope Benedict on Saint Joan of Arc

Wednesday, June 1, AD 2011

 

Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.

                                               Sir Winston Churchill

One of the examples of the direct intervention of God in human affairs, the brief history altering life of Saint Joan of Arc has attracted the admiration of the most unlikely of men, including the Protestant Sir Winston Churchill, and the agnostic Mark Twain who called his book on Joan of Arc the finest thing he ever wrote.  She was not canonized until 1920, but almost all of her contemporaries who met her had no doubt that she was a saint sent by God.  Some of the English who were present as she was burned at the stake cried out that they were all damned because she was a saint.   Jean Tressard, the Treasurer of Henry VI, King of England, wrote the following soon after the execution of Joan:   “We are all lost for it is a good and holy woman that has been burned. I believe her soul is in the hands of God, and I believe damned all who joined in her condemnation”.  With Saint Joan humanity came into contact with a messenger from God, and the result to her was as predictable as it was lamentable.  However, the outcome of her mission was exactly as she had predicted.  The weak Dauphin that she had crowned would reign as Charles VII and end the Hundred Years War in victory for France, something that none of his contemporaries thought remotely possible before Joan embarked on her mission.

On January 26 of this year Pope Benedict spoke of Saint Joan:

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4 Responses to Pope Benedict on Saint Joan of Arc

  • I hadn’t run into this address of Benedict’s. Amazing stuff. Thanks for posting it.

  • Thank you Darwin. It is rare that we have a pope who is also a fine historian. Pope Benedict has put together quite a few good historical monographs like this, and I will be featuring them on the blog from time to time.

  • So many saints worthy of study!

    The few things I’ve read about Joan are from a more secular perspective, focusing on the rarity of a girl warrior, and questioning her sanity. It’s interesting to read Benedict’s address about Joan’s spirituality.

    Benedict’s words about the holy Church and its flawed leaders are very relevant to today, and really touching.

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