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Prayer & Spirituality

I used to think the idea was cliche, but after a certain age, it really does become true: a life is not one seamless timeline. It’s more like blocks of time that occur in a sequence—chapters, as they’re commonly called. The new year is a time that I reserve for evaluating the chapters in my life.

A few years ago I decided to give each year a theme and study that idea for the duration of the calendar year. 2012 was The Year of Forgiveness, and wow, what a year! I learned so much about the love of The Christ, and how far we fall short of that unconditional love and devotion He blesses us with.

2013 was to be The Year of Self-Care, but I didn’t write much about it because I’m still learning. It was a big topic that could not be covered in merely one calendar year, so as I learn more about it, I’ll surely let you know; but for now, it’s something I’ve been silently contemplating.

What, then,  is this year about? I decided I wanted to explore an aspect of my Catholic faith that I love dearly, one that separates us from other Christian sects. It’s the devotion to the Saints. Being a story teller, I love reading about their life stories; their hardships as well as their victories. I’m also fascinated by how each saint became the patron of one thing or another, something so specific yet still universal.

And then I got the idea. So (drumroll, please) I am now hereby declaring 2014  The Year of the Saints! I wanted to look at the saints in a different way. Often, we use them as intercession with a particular plea or need or wish. What I’d like to do is look at their lives, and at their personal stories. I’d like to get to know them as real people, before they were beatified. I want to learn what characteristics they had, what their hardships were, and how they met their obstacles.

Most of all, I want to see how I can model some aspect of my life after something I admire from them. I’m looking to see how the saints can become role models. I want to look in particular at the relationships the saints had—spiritual, familial, communal, clerical, and of course, spousal—and see how that can inform change in my personal relationships as well. I feel that as Catholics, we have callings that are twofold: one, our internal spiritual relationship with God and two, our interpersonal encounters in which we try to lead a life modeled on Christ. 

So … (another drumroll, please) I’m taking requests as well! Any saint that you find compelling? Anyone you want to know more about? Leave your ideas in the comments below! I’m always excited and pleased to read your comments, and it’ll be fun to share our experiences praying to the saints that I plan on researching.

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12 Comments

  1. Cataldo-787443 January 31, 2014

    Dear Cate, that’s a great idea. I think a very actual saint that could play as a role model is St. Maximilian M. Kolbe. Also I endorse you to read about St. Gianna Beretta Molla and a young italian girl which is not yet a saint but will surely be proclaimed: Chiara Corbella Petrillo (if you google her you’ll find her amazing story.).
    God bless you and all the CMers through Mary

  2. Hope-1049882 January 31, 2014

    Gina, Saints are among my obsessions, too! Kolbe, like Cataldo said above, is an excellent and relatively modern saint. I am terribly alarmed by the losses of civil liberties and too-powerful government here in the US, and would be especially up for reading about saints who kept their faith against “the machine,” whatever form it took in their time. I guess that’s what distinguished many saints– their willingness to speak truth to power, to be a witness to God’s truth, at the cost of their lives. Starting with Jesus Christ himself! In these dark times, it is so urgent that young and old hear stories of hope. As the late Pete Seeger said, “”The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.” I look forward to your writing!

    • Cataldo-787443 February 1, 2014

      I completely agree with Hope. <> would be really modern topic and it would allow you to explore the early centuries saints who kept Faith in roman persecutions.
      God bless

  3. Andrew-1040810 February 1, 2014

    My drum is still rolling for Cate Perry. Great thoughts about all our saints in general but I think you’ll find the most compelling grace when praying to the Blessed Mother. She has a special connection to our Lord that we can all implore her to invoke in our many moments of need. I look forward to more of your writing!

  4. Jeanette-896050 February 1, 2014

    Dear Cate: I really like that, I love to read how each saint according to their time and circumstances they lived see how they overcame their struggles , their victories persevering thru Gods Love and relationship with Christ. We can learn from each different saint. In the Catholic Radio Station 90.5 Spirit FM which I listen too a lot. Give a little bit of the life of the saint for each day. It would really be great to read more about their lifes. Thanks for this I have to take more time for that. I have read St. Therese of Little Infant Jesus,San Jose Maria Escriva and others…. Keep on writing …

  5. Donna-1047137 February 1, 2014

    Dear Cate,

    I think that’s so thoughtful. Yes, it is important to ask for spiritual assistance in everything we do or plan to do. I pray to our Lady of Lourdes for guidance, for her to pray for me. I trust Her prayers will be a guiding light. Thus, I expect to meet a respectable and honest Catholic man pretty soon.

    God bless you!

  6. Michelle-989480 February 1, 2014

    Hi Cate! I am actually doing the same thing for 2014–reading about the saints and trying to incorporate some of the ways they lived their faith into my daily life. I just finished reading (for the second time) “Come Be My Light: the private writings of Mother Teresa” and I am about to start “St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Essential Writings”.

  7. Lisbia-962289 February 1, 2014

    My favorite saint is St. Anthony of Padua apart from its beautiful history has a special history in our lives.
    My mother donated to local churches of San Antonio de Padua package which placed in a special place. Eventually someone donated one bigger and they sent us to a room where they keep things they do not need my whole mother rescued him and took him home. My son was 5 years old and the size and one day began to spin around him and broke . After printing my mother would kill me because I started to glue the pieces and rebuild not stay well clear as there were many parts that were destroyed look and take a restorative which I leave as new. But at the time it was in the place where he was restored and finished the job a thief entered and stole it . The owner noticed and called the police and rescued him . Now San Antonio has a special place in our house where we make our prayers and has remained for 15 years interceding for us . San Antonio just need to meet me something that I know is for me and it was time that God so decides.
    God bless

  8. Liz-609023 February 1, 2014

    Hi! I love your thoughts and ideas. Firstly, what I think is interesting is looking at something that relates to us and the saints. Many of us, women and men, are called to be brides of Christ. That doesn’t just mean the nuns/monks etc though, it also means lay people. Jesus is the spouse of course. St Catherine of Siena is the best example and will give us all the best understanding of that because it is believed she was even given a wedding ring by Jesus. That’s the closest love you can have with Jesus, if we could understand that love we would understand our marriages more.
    Secondly, If you want a saint that was married and made her marriage a success and then after his death joined the order of St Francis and loved the poor then have a look at St Elizabeth of Hungary. I was named after her.
    (Regarding St Anthony of Padua. He is indeed very special to me too, in fact he’s constantly in my life. As soon as I’ve lost something St Anthony is called for or I’ll hear someone saying “Have you asked St Anthony to help you?” When I was at university one of my fellow students was “turning over” her room for she had lost her keys and I had a room opposite her. She wasn’t Christian but I said to her rather boldly “Ask St Anthony to help you?” She said “Ok” Instantly she found her keys! She was so thankful!)
    Blessing in your findings!
    Liz (Elizabeth)

  9. Elodia-982734 February 1, 2014

    would like to know more about St Paul- he is my favorite apostle.thanks.

  10. Ellen-1053084 February 2, 2014

    I think this is a great idea. I find it easier to be more Christ-like by learning from the saints. I would like to make a suggestion though. Instead of each person stating the saint they want to know more about, why don’t we each do our own research and then share it. Any thoughts?

  11. John-946793 February 2, 2014

    …love your idea about the saints! I have a few favorites and one’s I’d like to know more about. One of the saints that really inspires me, since I recently saw a movie about his life entitled “I Prefer Heaven” is Saint Phillip Neri. I was so inspired when learning about his life…what was inspirational? The fact that Phillip Neri is so lighthearted and loves humor, being joyful (too the point of being silly maybe), and having a smile on his face so often. No wonder God chose him to lift up and bless and lead the poor children of Rome in his time on earth! If I could be a saint, I would want to be like Saint Phillip Neri.

    Another saint I think is extraordinary (of course they all are) is Saint Joseph of Cupertino. He had such a love and devotion for our Blessed Mother, that she favored him with levitation and many miracles performed in his life. If you read about his life it is an amazing story…his love and holiness can be an example for all of us.

    Thanks for the opportunity to say a few words about the saints we love…

    Blessings,

    John

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