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Father Muench Says...

‘All my favorite saints’

November 1, 2023

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

All Saints Day – Oh! How I love All Saints Day! My favorite feast day of the whole year. On this day, I can flaunt before all my favorite saints – all my favorite saints, even those not yet canonized.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many canonized saints that I love. I pray to them often. They are a special part of my life. Some I have devotion to because I have spent time in their cities. I have visited Assisi often, and so St. Francis and St. Clare are favorites of mine. I have also spent some time in Peru, so I have devotion to Saint Rose of Lima. I had the opportunity of visiting her monastery.

Each year, on All Saints Day, I take the time to remember in a special way and renew my devotion to my personal saints, my not yet canonized saints. These are the several outstanding Catholics who I discovered through their stories and their writings. I think of Thomas Merton. As you know, I write and speak about him often. I am certain that he is a saint. I also remember well and am devoted to Catherine Doherty, the foundress of Madonna House, as a saint. I have met her. I have spent time at Madonna House. I have heard her speak and was pleased to say I have had many conversations with her. She was a wise person, a holy person. She is a saint. She helped me to know and understand God in a deeper and better way. I can tell you that she had a profound influence on me and my priesthood.

My list of saints – those not yet canonized – were all a powerful influence on me. Some were my relatives. All Saints Day gives me an opportunity to remember their powerful example for me. I know that my parents gave me a foundation to form my vocation, my desire to become a priest. They were all truly saints, and my life is better because of them all.

When I think of my saints, I remember many of my own friends – my priest friends and the many members of the various parishes where I was pastor. As I remember them, I realize that they were all truly saints. They supported me and helped me to be a good pastor and priest. They stood by me and kept me on the right path, walking in the spirit of my Lord and Savior, Jesus. They showed me the way.

Today I remember in a special way a friend who was a saint – a priest who was a constant source of wisdom and holiness for me. I turned to him often, especially when I was preparing a talk or some sort of presentation. He could always show me the way. He was also a skiing buddy. I remember times when we skied together, I would challenge him with questions and seek his help to understand something. He always gave me the answers I was searching for. He gave me a great deal of advice, often in conversations as we rode up the mountain in a chair life. He was my teacher. He was a saint.

Let me add another group of saints that I experienced. I would call them one day saints. These would be the saints I experienced for only a short time. They touched my life in a very powerful way even though we were together only for a short time. After spending time with them, I knew I had experienced the presence of a saint. I must tell you that sometimes it was children, small children; they had a real holiness that was saintly. This was a group of every age group. The most memorable were older people who had wisdom, saintly wisdom.

So, you see this is an important and special feast day for me. I hope you have a list like mine, and it is long and memorable. My prayer is that someday, there will be someone somewhere who will mention me on their list of saints.

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