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Editorial | Take a saint to lunch (or wherever you go)

Saints are important for inspiration and our prayer life

The Catechism of the Catholic Church points out the importance of saints in our prayer life:

“The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were ‘put in charge of many things.’ Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world” (CCC 2683).

An article in this week’s St. Louis Review reminds us of the importance saints in our lives.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis addressed young people of the world, inviting them to reflect on the traits and qualities, hopes and expectations of their age. He asked them to draw inspiration from young saints’ lives. These saints “devoted their lives to Christ, many of them even to dying a martyr’s death,” Pope Francis stated. “Their radiant witness encourages us and awakens us from our lethargy.”

Pope Francis added the importance of recognizing the holy men and women of every race, language and culture who belong to the Church universal and are models of faith for every Christian anywhere in the world in every time and age.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website points out that saints have a special place in the Body of Christ. The saints, “the members of the Church who have arrived at perfect union with Christ, join their wills to the will of God in praying for those in the Church who are still on their pilgrimage of faith,” the bishops state in a summary of Church teaching on saints. They add that practicing love of the saints “brings us all closer to Christ.”

In our own community, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne responded to the need for educators to educate people in a pioneer land. In St. Charles, she founded the first house of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus outside of France, living in a log cabin in extreme weather, working hard and dealing with a lack of funds. In 1818 she opened the first free school west of the Mississippi. Her example of courage and fortitude as well as her well-known prayer life is inspiring.

It’s our duty to introduce children to the lives of saints such as St. Rose Philippine by discussing the saints with them or giving them books on saints that are available at Catholic bookstores in St. Louis.

Take the time to learn more about saints. Check for books or look online at resources such as the bishops’ website which details American saints and blesseds (see www.bit.ly/1L8IEXi), saints who were great evangelizers (www.bit.ly/1V7MsxW) and leaders of African descent on the road to sainthood (www.bit.ly/1iSPx1A). The Vatican gives details of recently canonized saints at www.bit.ly/2Yx9LMj.

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