I’m six months into my goal of paying attention to the liturgical calendar and doing my best to let it inform and inspire my daily life. While I sometimes forget to plan ahead or even acknowledge some feast days at all, I can say that so far, this experiment has transformed my faith in the richest way. One reason for that? I’ve loved being introduced to Saints I had never heard of and diving more deeply into the lives and faiths of ones I already love.
I recently read a beautifully written memoir called My Sisters the Saints, in which the author shares the ways the lives and writings of six Saints “speak to her deepest longings, guide her through her most wrenching decisions, and lead her to rethink nearly everything she thought she knew about what it means to be a liberated woman.” Her story resonated with me so deeply because this year especially, what I’ve learned from the Saints has drawn me closer to Jesus than I have ever been. And that’s exactly what is supposed to happen–every encounter with the beautiful lives of some of the holiest men and women who have ever walked this earth point only and always to Christ. Every day, I now walk through my own life and work calling to mind what I’ve learned from the examples of St. Zelie, who shared in my experience as a mother and business owner, St. Gemma, who never let her thoughts stray far from Jesus’ sorrowful Passion, St. Therese, who continually made small sacrifices with the greatest love, and so many more.
After reading this book, I was curious to ask a few of my friends about the Saints they have been the most influenced by. I’m so honored to share the answers of ten incredible women (plus my own answer) today! I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did…and whether you already have a best Saint friend or you’re curious to learn more about someone, be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway :)
“St. Therese of Lisieux has had a major impact on my life–she came at just the right time! I knew that in my lifetime, I most likely wouldn’t have a huge impact, but like St. Therese, I could do small things with great love. She has shown me that it’s okay to go through life performing daily activities with love and obedience, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. I’ve found several articles and her writings very helpful in learning more about her, as well as the book My Sisters the Saints.”
– Carrie Khodanian, founder and designer of Stella & Tide
“St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) has been so influential in my life that I named my daughter after her. Even though she moved across the world to serve as a missionary, she still believed that changing the world begins at home with the people closest to us. She was brave enough to talk about controversial issues on the world’s stage and humble enough to care for the poorest of the poor. Those who knew her say that you’d be just as likely to find her cleaning a toilet as you would leading a group of women or caring for the sick and dying. A great resource to learn more about her is Come Be My Light, a collection of her letters. Even though she suffered through intense periods of spiritual desolation, she still lived out a calling to love in a radical, beautiful way.”
– Claire Swinarski, founder and host of The Catholic Feminist Podcast
“St. Gemma Galgani is literally a ‘true gem of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,’ and inspires me deeply. As a somewhat modern-day saint, she was incredibly striking (for whatever reason, I have always been curious about saints who were physically beautiful), and her intense devotion to the Passion of Our Lord is nothing short of all-consuming. Gemma was only 21 years-old when she received the grace and suffering of the Stigmata, and her life was truly a martyrdom of love. Her story is gripping and almost fantastical, from regularly conversing with her Guardian Angel to fighting face to face with the Adversary. St. Gemma is not only captivating, she issues a challenge: ‘If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer because suffering teaches you to love,’ and oh, how dearly I need this reminder daily. I was blessed with the opportunity to pray before her tomb on our honeymoon, and I specifically asked her to intercede for our future children…and lo and behold, our first born is named ‘Gemma.’ We have this basic four-volume collection of her life, but I honestly recommend this website for everything and anything you want to know about St. Gemma.”
– Janet Easter, blogger at Ever Easter and cofounder of Verily
“A saint I particularly love is Saint Theodore Guerin. I went to a brand new high school founded under her patronage (my class was the first freshman class!) so I learned a lot about her during very formative years in my faith. She was sent from France to the wild woods of Indiana where she formed an order (the Sisters of Providence) and several schools. She left everything she knew behind and was so courageous to go straight into the unknown, trusting that God would lead and provide. One of my favorite quotes is attributed to her: ‘Place yourself gently into the hands of Providence.’ You can learn more about her here.”
– Valerie Keinsley, blogger at Valerie Keinsley
“I typically call upon Our Lady and the mothers of my favorite saints like St. Jean Vianney, St. Gemma, and St. John Bosco for guidance to help me in my vocation raising little ones for heaven—these women may not be officially canonized, however, I truly believe that the hidden tasks of washing, mending, cooking, and instructing their children about Jesus have made them saints. Of all these saintly mothers living in obscurity for heaven, St. Zelie Martin (the mother of the Little Flower, St. Therese) acts as my patron for my particular season of life. I resonate deeply with her desire for raising children for God alone and admire her example as a working mother living for heaven. St. Therese of Lisieux is famous for her ‘little way,’ but I think she first learned of this spiritual philosophy through the example set by her holy mother. St. Zelie completely abandoned her vocation to the divine will, always trusting God with the details of her day, joyfully accepting suffering, and praying fervently that her children would love Jesus and live only for Him. I recommend her biography written by her daughter, Celine, called The Mother of the Little Flower as a resource to learn more about her life.”
– Emily Fossier, blogger at Little Fossi Way
“Just as new friendships here on earth can become some of the dearest in life, so too with our heavenly friends. This past year, I came across Saint Giuseppe Moscati (1880-1927), an Italian doctor and miracle worker. Learning more about his story–especially his love for discovering truth within the medical field and his desire to uphold the dignity of the human person–has greatly inspired me. He gave his whole being to help serve the sick, lonely, and poor. I try to live out his words that so closely echo the Gospel message: ‘Charity will transform the world.’ To learn more about Saint Moscati, I recommend the movie St. Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor of the Poor. There is also a book by Antonio Tripodoro, S.J., that shares the same title as the movie, that is wonderful!”
– Claire Couche, blogger at Finding Philothea
“My husband, Stephen, and I always hoped to have a patron saint for our family, but neither of us held a particular devotion to any one, so we prayed about it and remained open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. In the past few years, we have been sent holy water, statues, candles, and cards from the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, Florida. Many ask for her intercession in conception, healthy pregnancy, and motherhood, and since we struggle with infertility, we felt she would be the perfect patron for our family–it felt like she was pursuing us! There is a beautiful prayer on the back of her holy card that Stephen and I say together in prayer, and I’d love to share it with you:
Lovely Lady of La Leche, most loving mother of the Child Jesus, and my mother, listen to my humble prayer. Your motherly heart knows my every wish, my every need. To you only, His spotless Virgin Mother, has your Divine Son given to understand the sentiments which fill my soul. Yours was the sacred privilege of being the Mother of the Savior. Intercede with him now, my loving Mother, that, in accordance with His will, I may become the mother of other children of our heavenly Father. This I ask, O Lady of La Leche, in the Name of your Divine Son, My Lord and Redeemer. Amen.”
– Katie Wadlow, blogger at Hey Katie
“I was on the brink of young adulthood and a massive conversion of heart when I first saw a picture of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. There was a massive banner with his photo and the words ‘Verso l’alto!’ hanging in the childhood home of my then-friend-now-husband. My first thought was that he was the first handsome (almost) saint I’d ever seen; but once I discovered the details of his life, I was even more attracted to his virtue. Frassati showed me, at a tender age, that holiness, sainthood, fun, and frankly, normalcy, were not incompatible. As someone who loved spending time with his friends, working toward his education, going on outdoor adventures, and playing harmless pranks, Giorgio was and continues to be a saint I can relate to in my daily joys and sufferings. He exemplifies living every precious moment we have on earth–from heart-wrenching loss to purest elation—for the greater glory of God. You can learn more about him on this website or by reading A Man of the Beatitudes (most approachable biography and considered the standard resource) or My Brother Pier Giorgio: His Last Days (my fave and it’s short).”
– Olivia Spears, blog manager at Blessed Is She
“Recently, I spent two weeks in Assisi, Italy. During that time, I felt drawn to learn more about St. Clare, who was from there. I picked up a book about her and read it from front to back quickly. I was so taken by her continuous ‘yes’ to give everything to our Lord, the way that she generously loved and cared for her sisters, and her complete love and trust in the Eucharist. In the book, she was quoted saying, ‘Happy, indeed, is she to whom it is given to share in this sacred banquet so that she might cling with all her heart to Him…whose kindness fulfills, whose affection excites, whose contemplation refreshes, whose delight replenishes, whose remembrance delightfully shines.'”
– Emily Runyan, calligrapher at Emily Rachelle
So much of who I am as a person, I owe to my beloved friend, Saint John Paul II. My Polish heritage gave me an instant connection with him as a child when he was still alive, but ever since I began to truly get to know him starting in college, he has taught me the true meaning of courage. Of hope. Of authentic femininity. Of Christian marriage. Of true adventure. Of the value of being a mother. Of the value of being an artist. Of boldly walking in the truth, no matter how counter-cultural it may be. And most of all, of the satisfaction and love and joy that can only be found in Christ Jesus. Every day, I try to remember his encouragement as I strive to love God, love my family, love my community, and love my enemies: “There is no place for selfishness and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice.” To learn about him, I recommend his official biography, Witness to Hope, or the shorter, easier-to-read Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves.
– Lisa (yours truly :))
As you may have spotted on Instagram, I’ve been living in the prettiest gold necklaces from Stella & Tide lately. I was so excited when Carrie not only agreed to share her love for St. Therese in this post, but also to give one of y’all a gorgeous gold custom saint medal necklace. I’m wearing one of Saint Therese in the top photo of this post and LOVE how sweet and dainty the reminder of her is. Stella & Tide offers these necklaces in over 250 Saints and three lengths to choose from. Enter below for your chance to win one!
The winner will be randomly selected and emailed one week from today on June 28. The giveaway is open to US residents ages 18 and older.
Bonus: use the code SOMETHINGPRETTY10 to receive 10% off of your Stella & Tide order anytime. I also have the Celeste necklace and Stardust necklace, and think I need to add the Totus Tuus cuff bracelet to my collection soon :)
Additional reading about Saints:
My Sisters the Saints
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on devotion to the Saints
Do Catholics Worship Saints?
Bishop Barron on why to pray to the Saints
Five Ways to Find Daily Adventure with the Saints