Fr. James Martin, S.J.: Who is your favorite saint?

"Saints Peter, Martha, Mary Magdalen, and Leonard" by Correggio, (detail) ca. 1515. Met Museum. 

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Apple Podcasts

Advertisement

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Google Play

Join our Patreon Community

Who’s your favorite saint? Do you have one? If you’re Catholic, there’s a good chance that you do. For me, my top three are St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John XXIII and St. Bernadette Soubirous. That list, by the way, changes from month to month, and year to year. The saints serve as both our patrons and our companions. That means first, that they pray for us in heaven. Now that can sound strange to people unfamiliar with the idea, but basically when you ask for their prayers, it’s like asking for the prayers of a person on earth. Except the saints are a lot nearer to God.

They are also as examples in the Christian life. They lived different kinds of lives in different countries and different centuries. The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner said that the saint shows us what it means to be a Christian “in this particular way.” They show us that you can be yourself and be holy. You can be, as St. John XXIII said, “holy in a different way.” So have you ever asked for help from a saint? Ever asked for their prayers? Maybe now is a good time to start. And have you ever taken a saint as an example for you in the Christian life? Maybe it’s time to start that too. So the next time someone asks you who your favorite saint is you’ll be able to answer.  

[Don’t miss any of the latest writings, podcasts and videos from Father Martin. Sign up for his newsletter.]

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Todd Witherell
7 months 2 weeks ago

St. Andrew Greeley

Tim Donovan
7 months 2 weeks ago

Like Father Martin, I have several favorite saints, and my list also changes from time to time. In a sense, my favorite saints are rather mundane. One is St. Joseph, whom I pray to for a happy death. Another is St. Jude. As a Catholic who's gay, I have always struggled with lustful desires. I pray to St. Jude as he is the patron of hopeless causes, and I often feel that my desires will never end. Perhaps the most interesting saint that I pray to is Saint Lucy. She is the patron of protection against eye ailments. I began to pray to her for the intentions of my sister-in-law's Mother, Lucy, who was a dear woman who had Alzheimer's disease. Finally, I felt fortunate that years ago I saw St. Teresa of Calcutta. She was concerned with all human life, including the unborn, the poor, the seriously ill, and the dying, It seemed appropriate that I saw,her in a
very impoverished city in suburban Philadelphia. St. Teresa was visiting the Gift of Mary hospice for women with AIDS.

Joseph J Dunn
7 months 2 weeks ago

Zacchaeus (Luke 19: 1-10)

John Walton
7 months 2 weeks ago

St. Catherine of Sienna -- Doctor of the Church

Leonard TIGHE
7 months 1 week ago

I love Bl Charles de Foucauld. Best kept secret in the community of heaven. Just beginning to get better known in the US. Amazing life and presence to Islam. blessedcharlesdefoucauld.info

Leonard TIGHE
7 months 1 week ago

Correction: charlesdefoucauld.info

Advertisement
More: Prayer / Saints

The latest from america

From a unity deeper than citizenship, that of baptism, we implore our fellow Christians: Join us in denouncing this violence, and help us understand what distance is left between that nationalism and yours.
David AlbertsonSeptember 19, 2019
Pope Francis poses for a photo on Sept. 18 with members of a U.S. delegation that traveled to Rome to present the results of the Fifth National Encuentro to the pope and top Vatican officials.
Some 40 percent of the U.S. Catholic community has a Hispanic background and that “more than 50 percent of the Catholics in the United States under the age of 18 are Hispanic.”
Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 19, 2019
It is not about the individual as much as the movement that gave Donald Trump power. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Holly Taylor Coolman writes that her pro-life views, empathy for some Republican voters and unease with polarization has complicated her early and consistent opposition to Donald Trump.
Holly Taylor CoolmanSeptember 19, 2019
Non-scale spiritual victories come when we see ourselves clearly and holistically, when we pray without prodding because God is real and someone to talk to.
Simcha FisherSeptember 19, 2019