As we look at the saints during this month of November, I thought I would share some of my favorite saints with you. St. Matthew is obvious, as we share the same name. A former tax collector, he followed Jesus after Christ reached out to him and is remembered as an apostle and an evangelist—author of one of the gospels. His Gospel contains the Sermon on the Mount, including the Beatitudes, many parables illuminating the Kingdom of God, and the account of the Magi bringing gifts to the newborn Savior. The Italian painter Caravaggio painted three scenes of St. Matthew's life: The Calling of St. Matthew, The Inspiration of St. Matthew, and The Martyrdom of St. Matthew.
St. Charles Borromeo was the bishop of Milan in the 16th Century. In a time of upheaval and reform after the Council of Trent, St. Charles worked tirelessly to implement the reforms of the Council and was zealously committed to the people of his diocese in a time when bishops had often been derelict of duty. Charles is also my middle name, so there's another reason to admire him. St. Stephen can be found in Chapter 6 and following in the Acts of the Apostles. Called as one of the first deacons, Stephen is the first one recorded to have given his life for Christ.
St. John Vianney was a parish priest in the backwater town of Ars, France in the 19th Century. Often considered not very bright, St. John Vianney heard confessions minimally for 12 hours daily. He is the patron saint of parish priests. St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi were both radically dedicated to Christ in His poverty and suffering and to Christ in the Eucharist. St. Augustine is probably one of the great and famous stories of conversion in Christian history. His autobiography, entitled Confessions, details how God's grace was at work throughout of all his life. St. Augustine was a genius but also understood the brokenness of humanity; his sermons and works have been preserved. It has been stated that all of Western thought is a response to him. St. Leo the Great was a pope in the 5th Century whose writings on Jesus Christ are some of the clearest expositions we have delving into the nature of Jesus.
St. Teresa of Avila helped reform the Carmelites, but her lasting legacy is her contribution to the Catholic spiritual tradition. She was a larger than life figure and had deep mystical experiences. The Italian sculptor Bernini depicted one of her mystical experiences in the sculpture The Ecstasy of St. Teresa. St. Therese of Lisieux always sought to remain child-like for the Father and sought to live out her “Little Way” of love. St. Ignatius of Loyola provided the Church with the Spiritual Exercises, meditations on the life of Christ applied to our lives; he lived his life for the greater glory of God. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati lived for 24 years in the early 20th Century. He lived as a layman committed to the poor and evangelization during the day and prayed throughout the night. He loved his friends, hiking and mountain climbing, but above all, he loved Christ.
Hopefully these saints are an inspiration to all of us to become saints now. Have a great week!