The saints can present themselves in funny and coincidental ways. Have you heard a saint’s name mentioned many times in one day? Seen posts about them on social media? It can feel coincidental, but it’s really the Holy Spirit.
Have you heard the saying “Saint (name here) is chasing after me?!” Saints can actively pursue us. Wanting to be our friend, companion, or guide, they tend to make themselves known in various ways. Once we recognize the saint, they most likely become a friend who has something to teach us or remind us about. They teach us through quotes, prayers, and the example of their lives.
I have come to become friends with a few saints because of my patron, St. Francis. All of them have come into my life in interesting ways and have taught me many life lessons I continue to carry in my life. Here are 5 of my saint friends (and why they’re pretty cool):
1. St. Francis of Assisi
St. Francis of Assisi was introduced into my life at a very early age. Since my parents went to school and met at Franciscan University of Steubenville, they brought St. Francis into our home and way of life. Before I really knew about this saint, I was already tied to him.
Because of my love of animals from a young age, I picked St. Francis as my Confirmation saint. I didn’t even bat an eye or doubt that he was the one for me. While all the other girls in the class picked women saints and questioned why I was picking a man, I stood confident in my decision, and on the day of Confirmation, I proudly told the bishop that “Francis” was my saint name.
Since then, Francis has always been present in my life, and he has taught me many of his teachings. In times of chaos, I try to remember his teaching of simplicity and trust in the Lord. I had the opportunity to visit Assisi, Italy and understood his admiration of nature and animals. Francis continuously leads me to peace as I often recite the Prayer of Saint Francis asking the Lord to “make me an instrument of your peace”.
2. St. Padre Pio
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”
I can’t tell you exactly how I heard or read this quote by Saint Padre Pio for the first time, but I remember my initial thought was: Don’t worry? It’s useless?! How?! I need to worry! Then I realized how useless worry actually is.
I know that worry is useless, I’ve known it’s useless, but I still feel it, regardless. I don’t want to feel worried, but I still do. At some point, I realized this is a symptom of anxiety and acknowledged the fact I do have a small disorder. I hated admitting it, because having a disorder means I’m broken. Well, duh, of course I’m a little broken. I’M HUMAN. We are flawed. But we can’t let it stop there.
We are broken and flawed, but we can be restored (after all this is what this ministry is about!). Once I remembered this hope of restoration, it was when Padre Pio entered my life. At least once a day I hear his name mentioned or come across a post about him on social media, and I’m reminded of his famous words of encouragement.
Padre Pio was a humble man who reminds me greatly of my abuelo (grandpa). The saint used to sit and listen to people’s confessions for about 10 hours a day as many lined up from all around the world to meet with him (source). I feel Padre Pio’s peacefulness as he listens to my worry and reassures me it’s in God’s hands.
3. St. Anthony of Padua
While I was introduced to St. Anthony of Padua as the finder of lost things, there is so much more to him that I only discovered as I grew in relationship with him. I always call upon him when something gets lost, and he speaks back to me, and we have a conversation. I end up turning to him to ask for his help to not just find lost items, but maybe lost feelings. I’ve asked St. Anthony to help me find my peace, joy, or happiness in situations of stress or anxiety, and he has helped intercede on my behalf.
It was funny to find out that Saint Anthony is also the patron saint of travelers. As someone who loves to travel, I was surprised I didn’t know this sooner, and I seek his counsel when I am traveling (even if it’s just to and from the grocery store).
“Attribute to God every good that you have received” is quote attributed to this saint which I apply to my life daily. I try to stop in each moment and thank the Lord for the gifts in my life. I continue to call on Saint Anthony to help me through my daily life.
4. St. Gertrude the Great
St. Gertrude, is one of the greatest saints in the Church. She is the only female saint honored with the title “the Great” and this fact alone was enough to make me love her. I only became acquainted with Gertrude because of our Saint of the Sacred Heart live series, which gave me the assignment of talking about this saint with all of you. By the grace of Gertrude and the Lord, I was able to understand who Gertrude was and why she became present in my life.
After reading through the book our founder Lisa gifted me, Love, Peace, and Joy: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus according to Saint Gertrude by: Fr. André Prévot, I immediately fell in love with the conversations and writings between Jesus and St. Gertrude. Being an English major, and in love with poetry, their words spoke to my soul.
The first chapter of the book opens with the story of her vision with Jesus and St. John. Upon reading this line said by St. John, I felt a connection with Gertrude: “Come, Spouse of my Master, together let us lay our heads on the most tender bosom of the Lord, in which all the treasures of Heaven and Earth are enclosed.” Not only did I love how eloquently the words were expressed, but I especially loved the words themselves. My place of comfort is in the Lord’s arms, and I imagine myself just as Gertrude is in this vision, laying on the Lord’s chest curled up in His arms. I feel as if Gertrude and I share the same visions of the Lord. We see Him in a deep and personal relationship, as His beloved.
We share a spirit of gratitude in all things, and the Lord shares with Her that when we (humanity) pray with deep gratitude He is most pleased with us. Her idea of gratitude is similar to my teachings learned through my patron Francis. I wish to continue to grow as Christ’s beloved just as Gertrude, and grow close to Christ’s Heart.
5. St. Francis De Sales
St. Francis De Sales is a newer friend of mine. He has made himself known to me through our Saints for Slackers series, and introduced by St. Francis of Assisi as his twin in name. After listening to season 1 episode 10 by Sefanit, I felt as through his quote resonated with me and has always been in the back of my mind:
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving God who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. God will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.”St. Francis de Sales
A similar idea to the quote from Padre Pio, St. Francis De Sales has been a quiet, supportive friend in my life. His quotes and teachings have appeared in a few of my blogs when I happen to search for a “saint quote about peace.” I happened to create (one of my favorite) designs for our saint collection with this quote placed on a mug and sweatshirt.
St. Francis De Sales continues to be subtly present in my life, and I feel will make himself more present when I need it. For now, he gives me those words of wisdom and love the Lord needs me to hear, always drawing me back to Him.
I have grown in my relationship with these saints, and continue to grow and find more saints who are pursuing me. I’ve learned to recognize when I am being sought after, and quickly discover why the Lord has sent this particular saint to be my companion. I hope we all continue to remain open to the saints, to those holy men and women the Lord sends us on His behalf.
The saints are like the stars. In his providence Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they may not shine before others when they might wish to do so. Yet they are always ready to exchange the quiet of contemplation for the works of mercy as soon as they perceive in their heart the invitation of Christ.”St. Anthony of Padua