Who Else Should be a Saint?

Frank Clooney's post below got me thinking about who else should be a saint.  Given that I'm not the pope, I don't have much say in the matter, but here's my Top Five list.   (I'm leaving out those who are already on the fast track like Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, John Henry Newman, etc.)  Of course it all depends on whether these men and women get going and intercede for some miracles.  But here are some whose causes seem obvious choices.

1.) John XXIII.  Come on.  He's about the holiest guy I can imagine.  Read his incredible book The Journal of a Soul, a series of diary entries from the time he was a young seminarian to the end of his life, to see how humility can co-exist with great learning and wisdom.  And how humor can co-exist with holiness.  "Your Holiness, how many people work in the Vatican?" a journalist asked.  "About half of them."  How many popes could have a book like this written about them?  Holy, prayerful, humble, funny, warm, loving, hardworking.  Saint?   A slam dunk.


2.) Dorothy Day.  For all the reasons Fr. Clooney says.  Her quote, "Don't make me a saint; I don't want to be dismissed that easily," is often used against those who support her canonization.  But she had a great devotion to the saints, wrote a book about St. Therese of Lisieux, and understood their essential place in our faith.  Her recently published journals, The Duty of Delight, edited by Robert Ellsberg, show new aspects of her holiness (for example, caring for the dying wife of her former husband, Forster).  Amazing.

3.) Oscar Romero.  Another obvious saint.  And martyr, for God's sake.  Literally.  Killed for his defense of the poor, while he was celebrating Mass.  The holdup is unbelievable.  Almost unconscionable. 

4.) Peter Favre.  Never heard of him?  Often called the "Second Jesuit."  (That's him up top, in the cassock and biretta.)  Close friend of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, and the man who Ignatius said could best direct people through the Spiritual Exercises.  (And you figure Ignatius was a fairly good judge of this.)  During the time of the Reformation, when everyone else was condemning Protestants, Peter (Pierre) was praying for them and reminding his brother Jesuits (and other Christians) to love them both in word and in deed.  "Take care, take care," he wrote, "never to shut your heart to anyone."  (That comment should make him the patron of bloggers.)  His lovely (but long) Memoriale is a wonderful window into a sometimes-overlooked spiritual master.  The pious legend is that he is still Blessed, and won't intercede for a miracle to cement his canonization, because he doesn't want to take the attention away from his friends Ignatius and Francis.  But they're plenty famous now, Peter.  Time for your final miracle.

5.) Dorothy Stang.  Another martyr, though in a different context than we are used toWhen her killers came for her, she read passages to them from her Bible.  At a time when the Vatican is investigating the "quality of life" of American women religious, they might take a look at the quality of her life. 

Santi subito!

Other suggestions welcome.

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Robert Lynch
9 years 4 months ago
Good people all, Jim, but we really need more lay saints.
Jack Marth
9 years 4 months ago
John XXIII was a ''modernist'' - the worst thing a person can be in the traditionalist playbook.  They have a lot of power in the corridors of the Vatican.  That will probably stall his cause until the Holy Spirit moves them out of power.
A few ideas off the top of my head:
From your own book - Pedro Arrupe needs to be added to the list.  Not much of chance though, similar reasons to John XXIII
Other clergy/religious - Dom Helder Camara of Brazil, The UCA Martyrs and the Four US Churchwomen killed in El Salvador (there is a tradition of bringing in groups of martyrs - If I had to choose individually, I would advocate for Ita Ford, MM and Father Ellacuria)
Laity - Eileen Egan - a friend of Dorothy Day and Mother Theresa.  Perhaps the person most responsible for the success of Catholic Relief Services.  Her life story is pretty extraordinary.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eileen_Egan  Like Dorothy Day she does not offend the traditionalists.   Radical politically - not so much on internal Church matters.
César Chávez
9 years 4 months ago
JohnXXIII's care and opening to the Jews alone should get him canonized ,,.That was miracle in it's self, considering the inbred anti- semitism of that time. let's all pray for demonstrable miracles for all you called out!
Heidi Schlumpf
9 years 4 months ago
Great list. I agree on John XXIII, Day, Romero, Stang. I don't know much about Favre-is he related to Brett? Now there's a saint! I know a lot of people who are still alive who may be potential saints after their deaths.
9 years 4 months ago
It is wonderful to read this lively threaded discussion. Thanks to Father Jim for his insightful writings on saints past, present, and future. He is truly a gift.  I am, however, very interested in the reasoning behind the inclusion of Pope John Paul II to the wish list, especially to the what I have heard described, albeit in secular arenas, as ''the fast track'' to sainthood. 
9 years 4 months ago
I remember when the Vatican began the beatification process for Mother Teresa. The New York news stations did their typical thing and walked over to the steps of St. Patrick's with a cameraman in tow to interview Catholics leaving Mass. The most common response: ''She's a saint already.''
That goes back to the old tradition in the Church of popular acclaimation of saintly people. People know in their guts that someone's a saint, and the Medieval Church recognized this. Things are more buttoned-down now, but the Holy Spirit keeps speaking through the people saints have touched and impressed and inspired and consoled and affected while they lived. And this is the case with all the modern candidates for sainthood you mention. Everyone who even saw them speak on TV-let alone stood beside them-remembers Mother Teresa, Good Pope John, Dorothy Stang, the Maryknoll martyrs of El Salvador, Romero, Isaac Hecker, Mychal Judge and Dorothy Day as ''saints.''
Before long, an image of Dorothy Day will hang alongside the great doors of St. Patrick's where the saints of New York are remembered. Until then, she remains in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers what she is: the real saint of Bleeker Street. 
Jack Marth
9 years 4 months ago
At first, I was wondering why I had never heard of Favre?  After reading what Fr. Martin wrote, I realized he was talking about Peter Faber, SJ.  His anglicized name is more commonly used, at least in the US.  I think every Jesuit campus I've ever been to has something named "Faber".  I've never seen anyting named Favre.  Even Marquette, where the other famous Favre (the quarterback) would be best known uses Faber:
9 years 4 months ago
All great choices.  I first read about Peter Favre in a book by William Barry SJ.   What he had to say about him really inspired me - that when Favre met Ignatius, he was kind of afraid of God and that Ignatius worked with him for four years before Favre had gained enough trust and hope to make the Spiritual Exercises, but that he had ended up being, in Ignatius' opinion, one of the best directors of the Exercises.
Joe Garcia
9 years 4 months ago
I think it somewhat dangerous to say who "should" be a saint, since that's not my call to make. So, I'll amend it to a list of those I HOPE will be made saints.
To keep it interesting, I will limit my list to Jesuits.
1- Bl. Peter Faber/Pierre Favre. He's been a blessed forever. I agree with Father entirely.
2- Bl. Miguel A. Pro, SJ. A martyr, a Jesuit whose greatest zeal was for souls and who didn't fear the reprisals of the Mexican government at the time it was seeking to suppress Catholicism.
3- Fr. William J. Doyle, SJ. His cause was pretty active until the early 60s and then dropped off. His biography reveals a man who was wildly holy, kind, gentle and absolutely in love with God.
4- SoG Ricardo Tena, SJ, martyred by the Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War. When the Society was suppressed in Spain, he was too old and ill to travel and couldn't leave Spain, like most of the other Jesuits had. So he was arrested and executed.
5- Fr. Alfred Delp, SJ, martyred by the Nazis in 1944.
6- Bp. Enrique San Pedro, SJ. A missionary who was forcibly ejected by TWO (count 'em) communist countries and whose greatest joy was in being a missionary, spreading the Gospel to those who had never heard it.
7- SoG Manuel Gonzalez, SJ. Another martyr of the Spanish Civil War. After being arrested, he was taken from prison in the middle of the night and executed.
8- Bl. Edward Oldcorne, SJ. English Martyr; when the executioner struck him with the axe, the blow was so violent an eye fell out. (!)
9- Fr. John Hayes, SJ, chaplain to the British forces in the China-Burma-India theatre of WW2. Would heroically race into crossfire to baptize dying Japanese soldiers. (Stop and ponder THAT for a moment.)
10- Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ. Duh.
11- Fr. John Hardon, SJ. Duh.
12- SoG Martin Santaella, SJ. Spanish Civil War martyr. Imprisoned in a prison ship in the harbor at Almerí, in southern Spain. Fr. Santaella was beaten and strangled in the coal bunker.
An even dozen!
John Donaghy
9 years 4 months ago
Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, killed for refusing to serve in Hitler's army, would be a welcome addition to the list.
I'd second Alfred Delp, SJ, and Dom Helder Câmara, as well as the five on the original list
How about César Chávez?
Adding to the groups of martyrs of El Salvador - the four women and the UCA martyrs - what about the Trappists of the Monastery of Altlas, Tibhirine, Algeria - martyrs with a love for their Muslim brothers. The letter from the abbot (Dom Christian Chergé) should be a religious classic for its expression of love and forgiveness to his possible future killer.
Bartolomé de las Casas, OP
Blessed Frederick Ozanam, founder of the Vincent de Paul Society - and more
To remember the many African martyrs, at least Archbishop Joachim Ruhuma, archbishop of Gitega, Burundi, and Archbishop Christophe Munzihirwa, S.J., of Bukavu, Zaire
Blessed Charles de Foucauld
And there must be some saints from Asia!
Am I askign too much?
9 years 4 months ago
And I definitely second de las Casas, John! So important for successfully arguing that the Indians of Hispanola were "fully human." Before de las Casas, believe it or not, they weren't cleary viewed as "people" and could, therefore, be treated as less; meaning, Catholics with economic interests could argue that they were justified in maltreating and enslaving them. This guy's a hero, and built the intellectual scaffolding for the good work of the Jesuit reductions in South America. I might write about de las Casas one day-I so love this man. A major figure in both the history of Catholic social teaching and in moral theology.
Brendan McGrath
9 years 4 months ago
Oh, a few more -

7) Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ (No, he is NOT unorthodox; he's misunderstood. And if there is some stuff that's questionable, some of the Church Fathers got a few things wrong too.)

8) Also, isn't it about time we let Origen in there? So he got a few things wrong - what's a little heterodoxy among friends?

9) Meister Eckhart (OK, he's heretical here and there if taken literally, but if you're going to be heretical, you should do it in style; never has heresy been so shockingly beautiful!)
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 4 months ago
I 2nd the nominations for Fr. Delp, Franz Jaegerstaater, and Flannery O'Connor.
Interestingly, I know quite a few "anonymous" people who are just as saintly as the popular ones ... one, Darrell Grayson, was executed by the state of Alabama a couple of years ago.  I suspect we all know such people.  I tend to want these anonymous nobodies of the world to be included in the communion that we call "saints". 
Sometimes the conferring of sainthood seems to me to a little like a celebrity contest, and I look for nobodies to balance it all out.
9 years 4 months ago
I, take care, take care, to never shut our Hearts to the Magisterium, we pray.
Kevin DiCamillo
9 years 4 months ago
Can't- and won't- argue with your choices, especially since J XXIII is already beatified. But here's my top five:
1. John Paul II
2. Pius XII
3. Servant of God Nelson H. Baker
4. Paul VI
5. My parents, wife, and twins (count as one selection)
Jack Marth
9 years 4 months ago
John Donaghy writes: ''And there must be some saints from Asia!Am I asking too much?''
A Maryknoll sister friend of mine has told me the story of another Maryknoll martyr, Sr. Agneta Chang, a Korean woman who was a member of the Maryknoll order.  She was the only Maryknoll sister not under house arrest during WWII and its immediate aftermath.  She pretended to be a member of a Korean order of nuns and was able to carry on much of the work.  When the Korean war broke out she was arrested and eventually taken away by Communist forces, never to be seen again.
Speaking of Maryknoll, the founder of the Maryknoll Sisters, Mother Mary Joseph (Mollie) Rogers, was a remarkable woman who deserves consideration.
Stephanie Schmude
9 years 4 months ago
A good layman whose cause I'd like to see advance further - Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati.  If you don't know anything about him - read up!  What a guy.
9 years 4 months ago
Charles de Foucauld... oh, yea! I'm in a Jesus Caritas group and we employ his manner of prayer. Those who get a lot out of the Ignatian exercises should also look into Foucauld. Very beneficial.
And the Trappist martyrs who also met their deaths in Algeria-though much more recently-great intercessors to remember in a world where Christian/Muslim dialog is so strained!
Brendan McGrath
9 years 4 months ago
Some people I hope will be canonized:

1) Fr. Thomas M. King, SJ (he died this past summer; he was a Jesuit at Georgetown, and a scholar of Teilhard)

2) Catherine McAuley (founder of the Sisters of Mercy)

3) Julian of Norwich

4) John Henry Newman

5) Flannery O'Connor

6) Thomas Merton
Liam Richardson
9 years 4 months ago
Now that Rome doesn't appear to care for niceties with the Anglican Communion, how about Katherine of Aragon, as a patron of all those wives and mothers who have been abandoned by their husbands? Of course, Rome would really have preferred that she take the veil like a former queen of France did a generation earlier, and resented her. Another reason she'd be a good candidate.
Thomas Piatak
9 years 4 months ago
I would nominate Fr. Vincent Capodanno, the Marine chaplain who posthumously won the Congressional Medal of Honor and was killed in Vietnam while ministering to the wounded and dying on the battlefield. 
Jim McCrea
9 years 4 months ago
Any and all sisters/nuns who stick with it after being "blessed" with the Visitation.
9 years 4 months ago
Raymond Brown-no one did more to educate Catholics, lay and cleric alike, to the importance of intelligently grasping the foundation of our Faith, the Sacred Scriptures. No one provides a greater antidote to Catholic fundamentalism, and no Catholic American creatively balanced the tension between Faith and Reason better than Fr. Brown. Criticized from both the ''left'' and the ''right,'' his inspired scholarship set an example sorely needed but rarely followed by others. His beatification would signal that intelligence does not disiqualify one from sainthood.
Michael Widner
9 years 4 months ago
Other suggestions welcome.
Once again, I agree with all these above.  We have so many men and women that we can put up as examples for us all.
Personally, I would once again mention the name of Simon Gabrie Brute', first Bishop of Vincennes and spiritual director of Elizabeth Ann Seton.
His cause has begun and you can read more at:  http://www.archindy.org/brute
Joe Garcia
9 years 4 months ago
1- Today is the feast day of Bl. Miguel A. Pro, SJ. Creighton U. has a great page dedicated to him at http://puffin.creighton.edu/jesuit/pro/
2- I forgot to mention Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ. Mea maxima culpa.
Ronald Pelley
9 years 4 months ago
John XXIII and Romero and Day I cannot argue with for many reasons.  But how about the humble servers - Fr Michaei McGivney and Fr Casey Solanus. 
Fr. McGivney because he empowered laymen a hundred years before it became fashionable.  He described himself as a ''humble parish priest'', never sought the limelight, taught that laymen needed to get organized and fight anti-catholicism, and then died young.  His movement, the Knights of Columbus is currently the largest Catholic organization in the world.  If the Holy Spirit is not working here - where is it.  It is about time we recognized the important role of Catholic priests here in America.  For their personal sanctity and for them inspiring laity to go out and do the work of the Church.  Fr. McGivney may have been humble but he got things done.  Our modern Church has finally come to realize that if things are going to be done, it will be by the masses of dedicated laity rather than by a few brilliant individuals.  Lets hear it for a couple of million hard working Catholics inspired by a humble parish priest preaching to a congregation of ''ignorant immigrant peasants of a despised ethnic group''.
Fr. Solanus simply because there needs to be a place in heaven for the humble servers of the world - lets face it he is the patron saint of the overachievers.  Too intellectually limited to get into a diocesean major seminary he became a Francisian.  He would have never gotten into St. Ignatius, or Georgetown or Fordham or Loyola.  Even the Basilians would have probably rejected him.  But, hey, the Jesuits do not have the only path to holiness.  He ended up as the Porter of a second rate monestary in a second tier city but he had a spiritual presence that empowered his local.  We are not all alphas and this should be recognized. 
marie cogswell
9 years 3 months ago
My thanks to all of the commentators. What a wonderful and instructive list. My humble vote goes to Walter Ciszek and Dot Stang. Ciszek's book ''He Leadeth Me'' is incredibly powerful in all of the right ways. I consider it a must read for any spirtiual journey. And Dorothy Stang is a true home grown hero who stepped out of Ohio to embrace global issues in the most humble of Christian ways.
marie cogswell
9 years 3 months ago


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