One of my readers — a married mom of four — is looking for a confirmation name. She’s in RCIA and will be confirmed next Easter. Here’s what she says:
So many of my “classmates” are choosing particular saints because they feel a connection to these people. I was not raised in a religious family so I don’t have these same relationships and want to be sure to choose a saint that I will have a true relationship with. Possibly a convert?!
Here’s something else she mentioned: “I feel like these saints are such devout people, how could I ever have something in common…my own faith doesn’t even compare…”
The latter statement immediately brought to mind St. Therese of Lisieux, who said something similar: “I’ve always wished that I could be a saint. But whenever I compared myself to the saints there was always this unfortunate difference–they were like great mountains, hiding their heads in the clouds, and I was only an insignificant grain of sand, trodden down by all who passed by.” Her little way is based on the idea of accepting one’s imperfections and finding holiness in the everyday.
As far as converts go, how about…
- St. Margaret Clitherow, who was brought up as a Protestant. She was arrested and later martyred for allowing Mass to be celebrated in her home. She refused to enter a plea at trial — doing so would have endangered her husband and children — and was therefore pronounced guilty and crushed to death.
- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who was raised in an Episcopalian home. She was married, had five children, and founded both the first congregation of religious sisters in the U.S. and also the first free Catholic school in the U.S. (both of these in Maryland).
- St. Edith Stein, who was originally Jewish, and then an atheist, before becoming Catholic. She took the name Teresia Benedicta when she joined the Carmelites. She was an intellectual who earned a doctorate of philosophy working alongside the likes of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. She was later killed at Auschwitz.
There’s also St. Monica — not a convert, though she prayed for the conversion of her husband and eldest son. That son ended up becoming the one and only St. Augustine of Hippo. (Here’s more on the etymology of Monica.)
What other saints do you think this reader should look into? (I stuck to females, but you don’t have to.)