Vote for Your Favorite Saint
The winners of the 2017 Vote for Your Favorite Saint are:
Saint Francis of Assisi
One of the best known and most loved of all Catholic saints, Francis is the patron of Care for the Environment, and an advocate for the poor. His spirituality was deeply attuned to God’s loving, creative presence in all the universe, and in all creatures.
Francis grew up in a fairly wealthy family, but rejected the materialism, self-centeredness and corruption of his society, including the Church.
He embraced a life of poverty and service, led efforts for peacemaking during the Crusades, and made a radical commitment to the Gospel of simplicity and poverty, love of the Eucharist, and the integration of spirituality and service.
He gathered together like-minded communities of men and women, who have since become known as the Franciscans.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio took the name “Francis” in his honor when he became Pope, claiming St. Francis as his model of commitment to the poor.
Saint (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta
1910-1997, born in Albania and a citizen of India
While only about 12 years old in Albania, Agnes Bojaxhiu decided the she wanted to be a missionary sister. When she turned 18, she joined the Sisters of Loreto and moved to Ireland to learn English, so that she could teach in India.
She never saw her family again. When she was 19, she moved to India to learn Bengali and to teach. She professed her first vows two years later, and took the name Teresa, in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux.
Teresa served as teacher and headmistress in a convent school in India, but became increasingly distressed by the poverty she saw around her. In 1946, while on her way to a retreat, Teresa experienced “a call within a call”, and left the more comfortable Sisters of Loreto to live with and serve the very poorest on the streets of Calcutta.
She became an Indian citizen, pursued medical training, and began serving in poorest slums with the sickest and with the dying. She was eventually joined by other young women, and they together became the “Missionaries of Charity”, with a shared commitment to serve “the poorest of the poor.”
The Missionaries of Charity grew rapidly, and their efforts spread throughout the world. Mother Teresa was relentless in her efforts to bring aid to the most marginalized and desperate people, ferocious in her insistence that governments and the wealthy assist those efforts.
Despite inner spiritual struggles over years, she persisted in her passionate commitment of serving Jesus through serving the poor with love. Mother Teresa was declared a saint less than 20 years after her death.
Saint Mary of Nazareth
circa 25 B.C. to 40 A.D., in Palestine (now Israel)
Saint Mary, for whom the Mount is named, is the mother of Jesus, and - in much of the Christian understanding, “the Mother of God.”
The Gospels (especially Luke) tell us something about her — about her assent to becoming the mother of Jesus, despite the risks; about her great song of joy and justice, the Magnificat; about the struggles and heartbreaks of her motherhood; and about her honored place as the “Mother of the Church”, the model of trust in God.
For over two millennia, Christians have found Mary to be a loving presence - an advocate in their prayer, an understanding spiritual friend (especially with women), and a visitor to the humble, especially in difficult times — in places like Lourdes, Fatima, and (cited often by our voters) in Tepeyac, Mexico where she is known as Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
Saint Rose of Lima
Rose of Lima was a lay member of the Dominicans, known for her care for the poor and the sick. She brought the very ill and hungry home to her room - to the distress of her family.
She engaged in extreme ascetical practices, and died when she was only 31. She is greatly revered in many places - but especially in Peru, and in the Philippines.