The Saints have enriched and strengthened my faith by showing me the rich diversity of people who can follow God in heroic ways.
Saints have come from all eras, all economic levels, all walks of life, all countries, all races, all backgrounds, in all kinds of different situations, reaching sainthood in many different ways. Some became priests or joined religious orders, some did not. Some lived very poor in a shack, some were royalty and lived in palaces. Some were single virgins, some were single people who had lived a raunchy life before turning to God, some were happily married, some were miserably married. Some had good Catholic families, some had mildly dysfunctional family situations, some had truly terrible families who hated the Church and/or them.
There have been humble saints, forceful saints, eccentric saints, calm saints, excitable saints, saints who didn’t get along with people very well and went off to be hermits, saints who loved people and spent all day working with people, saints with mental problems and addictions (St. Mark Ji Tianxiang never kicked his opium habit and couldn’t receive the sacraments for many years because it was regarded as a weakness and the priests wouldn’t give them to him). There have been super smart saints who wrote wonderful scholarly works or always got top grades, and saints who were always at the bottom of their class. (St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests, was almost kicked out of seminary because he just couldn’t learn the Latin and other material after years of trying. His mentor persuaded the higher-ups to ordain him because he was such a holy guy and there was a severe priest shortage in the area.)
Some saints traveled all over their country, continent, or the world in the eras when travel was dangerous and difficult and most people didn’t go more than a few miles from their village. Some saints continue to travel all over the place in the modern era. Other saints stayed in or around one small area for their entire lives. Some saints were mystics who saw visions. Other saints seem to have been very down-to-earth people who mostly just worked hard and didn’t have, or didn’t emphasize, mystic experiences. Some of the female saints had careers, including in the era when most women were SAHMs - you had Joan of Arc riding out with the army, St. Bridget and St. Catherine being diplomats and trying to influence men in power positions, and St. Teresa of Avila reforming an order. In more recent years we have had St. Edith Stein, who was a respected academic, St. Gianna Beretta Molla who was a pediatrician, and St. Teresa of Calcutta, who founded an order and became known all over the world. And some of the female saints were SAHMs, or cloistered nuns who lived lives of prayer out of the public eye. Some of the male saints were good soldiers, or successful businessmen, or the equivalent, and some of them failed over and over at everything in life except holiness.
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