Reading the Lives of Our Sister Saints

One of my favorite parts about being Catholic is the Communion of Saints. They remind me of ice cream flavors. Hang on, stick with me for a second here!

There are endless of ice cream flavors from which to choose; you can stick with what you like best or sometimes be a little more adventurous. The same is with the Saints. There are so many different kinds of Saints: writers, teachers, moms, married, single, radical thinkers, and philosophers.

As a woman, I love the many, many different examples these women provide on living out the universal call to holiness.

Here are a few I have been getting to know better over the last six months of my own life.

Dorothy Day

I remember I first heard about Dorothy Day in junior high when we watched the movie “Entertaining Angels” in my junior high school religion class. At the time I wasn’t quite sure what to make of her. Our life experiences were as opposite as vinegar and water. It was not that I disliked her, but I wasn’t sure how to relate to her.

Fast forward to this past winter, when I read her autobiography The Long Loneliness for the first time. I was captured by the very radical nature she took the words of Jesus in living out the Gospel. She struck me now (12-15 years later) as passionate, radical, honest, and feisty.

In learning more about Dorothy, I began to grow in my understanding of Catholic Social Teaching and found myself reflecting upon what it looked like to live out in my life where God has me right now.

Do you have a particular cause you are passionate about? Do you love to get your hands dirty in the work of ministry and charity? If yes, then Dorothy is a woman you want to become friends with.

Servant of God Dorothy Day, pray for us!

Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)

Some of my earliest memories as a little girl were watching old documentaries on the life of Mother Teresa at my grandparent’s house. I was in total and complete awe of this woman. The day my mom had to explain I could not be the Blessed Mother, Mother Teresa, and a Mommy all-in-one was a sad day for little Patty. There are many pictures of little Patty with blue dish cloths on my head “rescuing” my naked, dying baby dolls.

So you better believe when she was canonized this past September, I was up super early (coffee in hand!) watching the live stream of her canonization Mass!

Something in the way she lived her life always connected deeply with me. Looking back, I think the best way I can describe it is how she loved so beautifully.

While I love her book Come Be My Light, if you are not ready for the hefty journey of reading about her years and years of spiritual darkness, I would say start with something a little easier. While not written by Mother Teresa, Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire is a beautiful story of what and who gave her the strength to do what she did in her life.

But still, make sure you get your hands on a copy of Come Be My Light.

Do you feel sometimes God doesn’t hear you or that He is distant? Then Mama T is your woman!

Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!

Saint Teresa of Avila

Okay, confession time.

The first time I encountered Saint Teresa of Avila was in graduate school was when I had to read The Interior Castle for a class on the history of Christian spirituality.

I have to be honest, I was intimidated by her. I felt like a spiritual infant compared to her talking about the spiritual life. I more or less set her back on the shelf and thought to myself, Well how can I relate to a spiritual genius like that?!

This summer, browsing the biography section at my local library I stumbled across this biography on the life of Teresa of Avila. What caught my attention was the title An Extraordinary Life.

I have fallen in love with this feisty, sassy, and passionate nun. I can see pieces of myself in her own journey, and I look at her now as an honest woman who doesn’t hold back in her relationship with the Lord.

Reading this biography of her has helped me come to better understand her and it’s given me the courage to go back and re-read The Interior Castle.

Do you need revival in your heart, mind, and relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you struggle with beating yourself up for past sins and mistakes? If yes, then Teresa is your gal!

Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us!

Who are holy women that challenge and inspire you?

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Do you have any favorite books or writings from our sister saints?

Written by Patty Breen. Find out more about her here

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