“This Friday is All Saints Day,” our choir director reminded me. “Don’t forget to send out a parish email blast with the holy day Mass schedule.”
I dutifully tapped out the notice, and as I hit send, I reflected that in some ways, the feast of All Saints was really just another day.
That’s because for me, every day is All Saints Day.
I’ve always felt close to the men and women whom the church recognizes as celestial citizens. As a child, I pored over saint biographies. I rode into battle with St. Joan of Arc, fed the needy with St. Elizabeth of Hungary, cast out snakes from Ireland with St. Patrick and flew above the trees with St. Joseph of Cupertino (who was reported to levitate in prayer).
On the country road leading to my Nana’s house, I scanned the woods for a little church named after St. Kunegunda, wondering what holy woman served as its patron (a 13th-century queen who eventually became a Poor Clare, as I later found out).
A steady stream of family pets were bathed in tears of supplication to St. Francis, asking for just a little more time to enjoy their furry presence on this earth. St. Anthony was routinely tasked with finding keys, homework, purses and even a few boyfriends I’d lost over the years (although I’ve since withdrawn those last requests, much to the relief of all involved).
St. Jude resolutely stood by me whenever I had to take a test, attend a job interview or endure a dark season (and there have been many) in my life. When I was under pressure at work, St. Pio gently advised me to “pray, hope and don’t worry.”
A few years ago, St. Katharine Drexel was wheeled with me into the operating room for two surgeries, my hands clutching a holy card with a piece of cloth she’d worn. My rapid recovery from both operations surprised the doctors, and I still wink at St. Katharine’s portrait in our parish chapel. She and I know the real reason I rebounded so quickly.
When my relationship with my earthly father was shattered, St. Joseph tenderly draped a protective arm around my shoulder, guiding me in decisions great and small — even interceding for me as I wept in frustration this summer over a home improvement project that had gone awry, leaving me covered from head to toe in plaster dust.
Mary — queen of saints, angels, heaven and earth — wrapped me in her mantle before I could even speak her name. The older I get, the more tightly I cling to her skirts, and to the hands of all my blessed brothers and sisters, whom I long to join someday in the presence of the Lord.
Until then, I’ll continue to call on my heavenly friends in moments of joy, sorrow, fear and frustration — the moments that bring us that much closer to eternity, where all the saints live in an everlasting, and forever holy, day.
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