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Who Are Your Intercessors?

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As a Protestant, my knowledge of saints was limited to the ones associated with holidays: St. Nicholas, St. Valentine, St. Patrick – and those were relegated to the realm of Santa Claus. It wasn’t until I discovered true Catholicism that I understood the saints as real people who faced adversities that were both similar to and well beyond our own. And even more amazing? We ask them to pray with and for us to help us on our path to holiness. Once I began to understand and pray through the intercession of the Communion of Saints, certain saints appeared in my life, whether or not they were sought out.

During my conversion, I was with Catholic coworkers at an event when someone said to me, “You look like St. Bernadette. Have you read her book, Bernadette Speaks? You need to!” I looked up the book then and there to see my apparent doppelganger, and discovered that it was published on my birthday. That book remains one of my favorites — and St. Bernadette was my saintly intercessor when I was confirmed in the Catholic Church.

The morning I learned we were unexpectedly expecting again, we had a three-year-old and 11-month-old already at home, thus I was terrified. While dropping off my daughter at her Catholic pre-school, I stayed for their morning assembly, and so, heard the principal announce that it was the Feast of St. Monica. All students, teachers and parents prayed together for mothers, especially those in distress. St. Monica became my patroness during that pregnancy, especially after we learned we were expecting twins!

At a very young age, my oldest daughter, fixated on St. Genevieve, memorizing her life story and sharing it with all of us, on repeat. She was thrilled to finally dress as her favorite saint for school when All Saints Day arrived. Her young admiration for this saint remained through the years, and I laugh now, because my daughter is obsessed with bread – an item often depicted with St. Genevieve.

In 2018, I received the great honor to help share the story of five priests who died while caring for people during Shreveport, Louisiana’s 1873 Yellow Fever epidemic. My friends, Father Peter Mangum and Dr. Cheryl White, and I published their story as a graphic novel series in Shreveport’s Catholic magazine. The series was picked up by The Catholic Journalist, a national newspaper, and my quest for  extra copies of that publication ultimately led me to this editor job in Cincinnati. Now, imagine my surprise when Father Earl Fernandes’ article for this very issue of The Catholic Telegraph featured those same five Shreveport martyrs of charity who are now recognized as Servants of God.

These are only a few examples of how saints (and hopefully soon-to-be-saints) appeared in my life. I hope you find saintly inspiration within this issue’s pages. Even if you don’t, be on the lookout, because a certain saint might just find you.

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February 17: Seven Founders of the Order of Servites