Thinking about Saints in May

Who do you think is a saint? I've been fascinated by the process of the canonization of the two popes recently. I wrote about it in my blog, and said this, in part:

In my tradition, we don't have "saints." I'm more inclined to look at saints in our midst: everyday people, but the kind of people you want to be around. Something about them shines through. They don't have halos you can see, but their actions produce fruit in the lives of those around them. Edwin Friedman used to say that the biggest gift you give in leadership is the nature of your presence. It's true even of those who might not think of themselves as leaders. Saints have presence.

I visited a saint recently: a woman in my church who can't get to church, but still mails bulletins to shut-ins with encouraging notes. I have saved several of the notes she has written me. She doesn't complain. She truly loves everyone even when she disagrees with their beliefs or doesn't like their behavior. She prays regularly for many people. By my lights, she's a saint.

I met another saint on my 14th birthday. His name was Mr. Thelin, was a friend of a missionary who was visiting our home. He had a killer smile and an openness of spirit. When he discovered it was my birthday he gave me a twenty-dollar bill (over $115 in today's dollars). I was stunned and touched by his generosity. I've never forgotten him.

Sometimes communities are full of saints. One of my favorite movies is Weapons of the Spirit, by Pierre Sauvage about the village of Le Chambon in France, which saved many Jews from the Nazis. They allow their faith rather than fear to dictate their behavior. The movie is inspiring.

I'm still thinking about it. A friend of mine who read my original article suggested our piano/voice teacher is a saint. She spend decades as a church musician and in semi-retirement is still contributing to her little band of adult students.

Who are the saints you know?

Read the full original post and get the free mini-course, "Five Ways to Avoid Burnout in Ministry" here.