Who is your “special Saint”?

Pray, Hope and Don't Worry: Padre Pio.

Catholic.net reports of an interesting point made by the Holy Father from his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo: the beauty and utility of having a special Saint.

“Each one should have a saint that is familiar to him, to whom he feels close with prayer and intercession, but also to imitate him or her. Hence, I would like to invite you to know the saints better, beginning with the one whose name you bear, by reading his life, his writings. You can be certain that they will become good guides to love the Lord ever more and valid aids for your human and Christian growth.”

Besides being a beautiful thought in itself, this exhortation of the Holy Father leads us to some rather sad reflections about the neglect of a proper cult of the Saints, still another poisoned fruit of Vatican II. In the desperate effort of the Church to minimise Her differences with heretic communities and thus – as it was very naively thought – make their conversion easier, the Church has long downplayed this traditionally fundamental aspect of Catholic life. As a result, the Protestants have not become more Catholic but  Catholics have surely taken Protestant habits or at least gravely neglected the Catholic ones. Cue the attitude of many Catholics toward transubstantiation, their understanding of the Mass as a celebration of their oh so beautiful community, their rather relaxed ideas about abortion, divorce, contraception, obedience in general. I wonder whether all this would have happened, had a robust veneration of the Saint continued to be encouraged.
Thankfully, this is slowly coming back and we can hope to see, in the next couple of decades, a full recovery of this most Catholic of religious habits.

Personally, my favourite Saint has been – for some years now – the wonderful chap you see in the image; a Saint whose visceral, relentless hate of Communism and homosexuality and whose very conservative political ideas are very near to my intellect, whilst his wonderful goodness and sainthood touch my heart in a very special way. Italian like me, by the way, and an exuberantly emotional chap like so many of us (which, whether you accept it or not, is what in the end makes us so popular 😉 ).

I encourage everyone who hasn’t any “special saint” to start on the path so beautifully described by the Holy father and hope that he will soon find – to use the words of the Holy Father again – a heavenly “travel companion”.


Posted on August 27, 2010, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Yes, I have one:

    Saint Vitalis of Savigny (ca. 1060 – 16 September 1122) was the canonized founder of Savigny Abbey and the Congregation of Savigny (1112).

    The reasons?

    1) He was a Norman, who founded an Anglo-Norman “purist” religious order which is attempted to better live the Rule of St Benedict, as I am myself from a Norman family, with lands in the vicinity of a former Savigniac monastery, and as I feel myself to have a potential vocation to an austere Benedictine life

    2) He was a great preacher and fearless defender of the faith, who reduced people to tears of repentance by his preaching, and he preached in England as well as Normandy, as this benighted country needs even now

    3) He gave up a life of worldly privilege to follow his ascetic monastic vocation – albeit as a priest, he was a court chaplain to the king’s half-brother, and his life would have been very comfortable, yet he went into the wilderness to follow the example of the desert fathers and ended up, almost accidentally, as father to a community. Oh how hard it is for us, comfortable, even privileged, to leave the world, and go into the forest like St Vitalis, yet so we must.

    He was born Vital de Mortain in Normandy at Tierceville near Bayeux about 1060-5. His parents were Rainfred le Vieux and Rohais. We know nothing of his early years; after ordination he became chaplain to Duke William the Conqueror’s brother, Robert of Mortain (died 1100). Vitalis gained the respect and confidence of Robert, who bestowed upon him a canonry in the abbey church of Saint Evroul at Mortain, which he had founded in 1082.

    But Vitalis felt within him a desire for a more perfect state of life. He gave up his canonry in 1095, settled at Dompierre, 19 miles east of Mortain, and became one of the leaders of the hermit colony of the forest of Craon. Here for seventeen years he lived an ascetic life, and was called Vital le Vieux (“Vitalis the Old”) taken from his father’s name. At the same time he concerned himself, like his mentor Robert of Arbrissel, with the salvation of the surrounding population, giving practical help to the outcasts who gathered round him.

    He was a great preacher, remarkable for zeal, insensible to fatigue, and fearlessly outspoken; he is said to have attempted to reconcile Henry I of England with his brother, Robert Curthose. He seems to have visited England and a considerable part of western France, but Normandy was the chief scene of his labours. Between 1105-1120 he founded a monastery of nuns, Abbaye Blanche, at Mortain, with his sister Adeline—later canonized—as abbess. He died at Savigny, on 16 September 1122.

    • Afcote,

      the Holy father would be proud of you! 😉

      As for myself ( a much wordlier man) I can’t read the name “Dompierre” without thinking of this stunning piece of music from the Canadian (I think) author of the same name.


  2. I am afraid that my PC doesn’t like embedded videos, but if you let me know what the link is I will take a look.

    I urge you to pray to St Vitalis…he of all the monastic saints has ferociously preached in this land. Much as I greatly admire St Bernard of Clairvaux, I do not recall that he ever came here. St Vitalis knew this land, and perhaps that will make his prayers for us in our persecuted state, hedged in by secularists, protestants and Muslims, all the more fervent.

  3. Grazie 🙂

  4. Mundabor,

    Just wanna say “hi” from Utah, USA and tell you how much I appreciate your Catholic news vignettes in my daily electronic mail. You help me keep my pulse on everything truly Catholic.

    I love Papa Benedict and it is through his luminous intellect that I was set “on fire” for our Faith. I had the profound priviledge of attending Mass in Warsaw, Poland celebrated by him and prayed at Auschwitz a day after he did, in the exact same spot,

    I am in the medical profession and feel very close to St. Luke, especially after reading Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell, that classic of the mid last century.

    I also love the Rose of York, Margaret Cliterow and all the English Catholic martyrs, Thomas More, Bob Southwell and the rest. I have no connection to England, but find what that evil fatso Henry VIII did and the aftermath heartwrenching and almost unbelievable.

    • Hello Redvelvette,
      I liked that with the “evil fatso” 😉 and yes, I do recognise you from your email as one of my esteemed subscribers 😉

      Glad to see you like the “product” and glad to see that there are also Catholics in Utah 😉 (joking of course, I knew they were .. 😉 ).

      I wish more physicians in this country were Dear and Glorious too, it seems this is not always the case. But one is encouraged to see that the profession still has many sincere and engaged Catholics. I once read of a swedish nurse who had had to give up her job as nurse because otherwise forced to participate in abortions, she had been unemployed nineteen months since, I do remember her in my prayers still after two years. Some forms of martyrdom can still exist in the middle of our civilisation, in Europe.



  5. Let’s make that Margaret Clitherow. If you’ve not read “Dear and Glorious Physician” you must! It will blow your hair back. It is absolutely stunning and beautiful and orthodox.

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