When we think of the Communion of Saints and how they reflect the liturgical year there are certain ones that just seem to come alive during Advent while preparing for the birth of Our Lord. For me, it is entirely the case during Lent that our spiritual connection to the celebrated Saints seem to lead our way to the cross. There are the obvious ones, St. Patrick, St. Joseph, Sts. Perpetua & Felicity, St. John Baptiste de la Salle, St. John of God, St. Isidore of Seville, St. Francis of Paola, and St. Frances of Rome. These (and others) are highlighted on our parish liturgical calenders, in the Magnificat, as well as given special mention by our parish priests. But what about the more obscure pious men and women who made it heroically through the pearly gates with merits worthy of sainthood??
I'd like to showcase a few of the "less-celebrated," though "no less Saintly" people who flank the calendar with the above mentioned. Please email or share in the comments others I may miss, they are all worthy of mention and there are so many.
Saint Colette was a saint chosen by God to bring the religious back to the strict observance of the rules of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare. At seventeen Colette joined the Franciscan Order and lived as a hermit for 8 years. At the end of her hermitage she had a vision of St. Francis who charged her to restore the Poor Clares to their original integrity. Like Francis and Clare, Colette devoted her life to Christ crucified and spent every Friday in meditation and prayer on the Passion. She foretold her own death and after receiving the Sacrament of the Sick died in her convent at Ghent, Flanders. This is her prayer:
Blessed be the hour in which our Lord Jesus Christ, God and man, was born. Blessed be the Holy Spirit by whom he was conceived. Blessed by the glorious Virgin Mary of whom the God-man was born.
May the Lord hear our prayers by the intercession of the glorious Virgin Mary and by the remembrance of the most sacred hour in which the God-man was born, that all our desires may be accomplished for your glory and our salvation.
O good Jesus! O Jesus Redeemer, do not abandon us nor punish us as our sins deserve, but hear our humble prayer and grant what we ask, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and for the glory of your holy name. Amen. ~Colette~
Her Feast day was March 6th. She was canonized in 1807.
(Voices of the Saints, Bert Ghezzi)
Saint Theresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart became a Carmelite nun at the convent of St. Teresa of Avila in Florence, Italy. Her birth name was Anna Marie, but she took the name Theresa Margaret and wanted also to be called "of the Sacred Heart" in order to express her desire to return God's love with all her strength. "Yes, my God," she resolved, "know that no other longing have I than to be a victim of your Sacred Heart, entirely consumed as a holocaust in the furnace of your holy love." As a witness to her nearness to God and her love for others she compiled her Maxims on Christian relationships and told of how she felt one should conduct themselves:
Let us do everything for love and, remembering that love longs for love alone, nothing can appear hard to us.
If the actions of our neighbors have a hundred sides, we ought always to look at them on the best side.
When an action is blameworthy, we should strive to see the good intentions back of it.
Her short five years as a Carmelite nun ended in her death at the age of twenty-three. Her Feast day in March 11th. She was canonized in 1934. (Voices of the Saints, Bert Ghezzi)
Saint Braulio is a seventh century saint and was a protege of St. Isidore. Braulio was entrusted to the editing of Isidore's works and reportedly completed some of his unfinished works. Not to mention his own works which many have given us a clear picture of the type of saint he was. Braulio was also an eloquent preacher and tried to convince brother Frominian from resigning his office as abbot:
"...There is not a single occupation that is without its dangers. Who will guide the ship if the pilot quits his post? Who will guard against the wolves if the shepherd does not watch?...You must hate the sins not the people. Even though tribulation brings more than we can endure, let us not be afraid as if we were resisting with our own strength. We must pray with the apostle that God give us 'the way out with the temptation', that we may be able to withstand, for Christ is both our courage and our counsel, 'without him we can do nothing', and 'with him we can do all things'." (Voices of the Saints, Bert Ghezzi)
The Patron of Aragon, Braulio died in 650 and his Feast day is March 26th.
Saint Gemma Galgani is considered the 'Italian counterpart' to St. Therese of Lisieux. She was a "prayer warrior" of her time and she had many visions of Christ. She was plagued by chronic illness which led to her failure to become a Passionist nun. She apparently had a stigmata that is controversial, but at the same time as their appearance she would be granted unusual graces. She died young at the age of 25 in 1903.
Her Feast day is April 11th. She was canonized in 1940. (Voices of the Saints, Bert Ghezzi)
Saint Mary of Egypt a fifth century saint was a witness of repentance, intercession and grace. She led a very tawdry life that was transformed by the Blessed Mother's intercession. People identified with her because they felt that if God could forgive her lowly ways, then no sin was too great for God's mercy. Her story is very interesting indeed, she was able to enter the church after much prayerful repentance and at Our Lady's guidance.
I hope that this little glimpse into the lives of these individuals has given you more food for thought during your lenten journey. I always find some of the more obscure Saints to be quite powerful in their intercessory ways as they are often overlooked. Of course God overlooks no one, Thanks Be to God, for that. May you enjoy some Saintly inspirations as you travel on your Way to the Cross.