If you were to look at the chain around my neck, you'd find a medal of Pope John Paul II, a Miraculous Medal touched by Mother Teresa, and a little silver heart with the name "Irene" engraved on the front.
For me, these three medals represent important saintly people in my life. The first two medals are reminders of saints of my time, great spiritual role models already on the road to official canonization. I met Mother Teresa at St. Patrick's Cathedral when I was a young reporter for Catholic New York. I saw Pope John Paul II at Madison Square Garden in 1979 when I was president of my parish CYO. The third medal? That one is a reminder of my mother, Irene, who died 23 years ago yesterday and is a saint in my book even if the Church doesn't know it.
Today my personal practice of looking to non-canonized saints got a boost from Pope Benedict XVI when he told people gathered in St. Peter's Square that he is inspired not only by the great saints but by "simple" saints as well.
From a story by Catholic News Agency:
"I look also to ‘simple’ saints, those good people I see in my life who will never be canonized, who are normal people, so to speak, without visible heroism, but in whose everyday goodness I see the truth of faith.
"...Pope Benedict reminded his audience that, “(w)e are all called to saintliness: it is the very measure of Christian life." Achieving holiness, he concluded, requires opening ourselves "to the action of the Holy Spirit" so that we can become part of "the great mosaic of sainthood that God creates throughout history."
So now I know I'm in good company when I put my hand to my throat and seek strength in the company of saints, recognized or not.
Read the full CNA story HERE.