You know what I’m glad for? I’ll tell you. I’m glad for my Tuesday morning prayer group. Where else could I get introduced to an up and coming saint and no one thinks that is hilarious. Or childish. Or naïve. Or superstitious. Or unsophisticated. Or un-cool. I’m glad for these wonderful women for so many reasons, but one of those reasons stood out for me this morning while I was praying. I have a couple of saints that I have considered my friends over the years. St. Anthony has been a staple since Aunt Jule had such a devotion to him, and as a bonus, he’s in charge of finding lost things. I lose things all the time, so I call on him almost daily. Over the years I have assigned particular saints to my children to watch over them. Long before my daughter named her son Jude, I had often called on his intercession for her. My oldest son also loses things often, so St. Anthony got the job of watching over him. For the next oldest son, I asked St. Joseph to be his guardian since they are both craftsmen. And my youngest son has always had St. Francis since it is his middle name and they share a love of animals.
I now have another saint friend. When one of the women in the group asked us to pray for the intercession of Blessed Brother Andre for the healing of her brother who had cancer, he had yet to be canonized. We asked for his intercession when we met, and also in our own daily prayers. As of this time, her brother’s cancer is in remission and his future looks bright. Blessed Brother Andre is now Saint Andre, but I still call him Blessed Brother Andre, ‘cause that’s how I picture him. He was a humble fellow in his monastery in Canada. He had a great devotion, or friendship, with St. Joseph. In his humility, his reputation for holiness grew. He had menial assignments around the monastery—he was not a scholar or a teacher, just a humble ‘ordinary’ man who performed his tasks with great love.
Due to my near total immersion in Catholic education, I did not have pop stars for my role models when I was a kid. I had saints. Which has often been a hindrance, I do admit. There they were being all holy and good in the midst of the very same temptations we live with today. They chose a different path so I knew what was expected of me: to turn away from the allure of sin and be holy. And when I fell—oh so often-- I had them to turn back to help me get on the right track.
We all need friends to navigate our way through life. Some of them just happen to have lived in different places and times than we find ourselves. That’s why we have the ‘communion of saints’ to call upon and ask them to pray for us. It’s like having a whole bunch of aunts and uncles banging on the door of God pleading our case. Who wouldn’t want that?