Memorable Saint Stories

By Jennifer Gregory Miller (bio - articles - email) | Sep 19, 2015

After just a few years of practice, following the Liturgical calendar within your Domestic Church can become second nature to the family; it can become an inseparable part of the family's organic routine. In our family, there are certain feasts and saints that we highlight annually, whether it is because they are our favorite saints, our patrons, or high feasts of the Church. And then are saints that we highlight occasionally; we bring them out to examine them closely. The following years these saints will only be included with a short mention, but what we discussed or did before is easily recalled.

Repeating this routine has woven the saints into the family's daily fabric. Every morning while checking the calendar, we discuss family birthdays, anniversaries, events and the saints of the day -- and the memories come back, requiring only a little refreshing from a short biography or image that focuses on the highlights of the saints, adding on little tidbits of information as the years progress. The saints are part of our family's life. This is particularly true as my sons grow older and are at the age where they recognize how the saints are part of the Mystical Body and true living heroes to imitate and invoke.

Today's Optional Memorial of St. Januarius is a perfect example of this dynamic in action. Last year I particularly highlighted this Neapolitan saint at home. We talked about his life and his relics, and especially the miracle of his blood liquefying at least three times a year. (My sons enjoy blood and relic stories.) Six months later St. Januarius was reinforced with Pope Francis' visit to Naples on March 21, 2015--the first time ever the blood liquefied in a pope's presence. Our local diocesan paper featured the story and as my son read it aloud to us, we all found part of the story very human and humorous:

Entering the cathedral, Pope Francis' white cassock and his arms were yanked repeatedly by priests, seminarians and nuns wanting to touch him or attract his attention.

Calmed reigned briefly after the pope reached the altar, but then Cardinal Sepe told the pope that, in accordance with canon law, he had given formal permission for the nuns in Naples' seven cloistered convents to go out for the day.

The nuns, who had been seated in the sanctuary, broke free, running to the pope, surrounding him, hugging him, kissing his ring and piling gifts on his lap.

"Sisters, sisters, not now, later!" the cardinal shouted over the microphone to no avail. "Look what I have done," he said, exasperated. "And these are the cloistered ones, imagine what the non-cloistered ones are like! Ay. They're going to eat him alive."

Fast forward to this year's feast day. I asked whose feast it is, and my sons proceeded to tell me about St. Januarius and his blood, and the Pope's visit from May, highlighting the sisters' quote from the article. Amusing, but also very gratifying to see how the memory was firmly implanted. We are reaching our family's aim of incorporating the saints' lives daily within our Domestic Church. 

Jennifer Gregory Miller is an experienced homemaker, home schooler, and authority on living the liturgical year. She is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org's liturgical year section. See full bio.

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