This morning your children most probably have woken up groggy and hungover from their fun fuelled evening of spookiness and excess sugar. Pumpkins are starting to slowly curl inwards and decay and artificial cobwebs lay discarded and strewn across gardens. Parents start to think about the next big event on the calender, shop workers everywhere are furiously wrapping tinsel and baubles around anything and everything to mark the start of the countdown to Christmas. However many may not know that today, the 1st November, is All Saint’s Day.
All Saint’s Day is a day I have celebrated and remembered all of my life. As a Catholic, All Saint’s Day is recognised as a Holy Day of Obligation meaning Catholics are required to attend Mass. All Saint’s Day is a day to remember all of those who have reached heaven as Saint’s and martyrs of Christianity.
The Saint’s have always fascinated me since childhood. I remember asking my religion teachers, nuns and priests about the Saint’s and enjoyed learning which one was the Saint of which cause.
The process of becoming a Saint usually begins 5 years after the death of the person in line for the “Sainthood” although it can be longer. Poor old St Bede had to wait 1, 164 years after death before he was deemed a Saint (there would have been some eye rolling, if that was me in heaven, waiting that length of time!) Recently it has also been slightly wavered in some cases for example Mother Teresa was made a Saint just two years after her death.
An investigation into the life of the individual begins, to ensure that the person lived a life of holiness and virtue. After a lengthy process the person is eventually “canonised.” Hundreds of thousands of people attend modern canonisations held at the Vatican.
My Top 3 Saints
1. St. Anthony
St. Anthony is a Saint I can relate to as he is the Patron Saint of lost items. As you can probably gather from my previous posts I frequently lose my keys, phone, purse and other items. Once my husband’s passport was found, after days of frantic searching, in the egg compartment of the fridge. St. Anthony had his own experience with lost items when a previous book of all his teachings was stolen. He prayed and his prayers were answered when the thief returned the book and also become a follower of St. Anthony’s teaching and changed his life for good. I’m sure St. Anthony knows me by name when I check in with him for my weekly prayers to help find my lost keys, my shoes and at times my mind.
2. Saint Gérard
Saint Gérard is the patron Saint of pregnancy and unborn children. He gained this patronism as apparently he was understanding of women with difficult pregnancies and helped them through kindness and prayer. Through my 3 troubled pregnancies, St Gérard would have listened to my hormonal, worried ramblings and although prayer isn’t for everybody it gave me great comfort.
3. Saint Etheldreda
Saint Etheldreda is a Saint I have only recently come across. As I described in one of my first posts Sirens vs Birds when first moving to the countryside I was left feeling isolated and low. One particular day I was wandering around the cathedral grounds feeling completely lost and missing my family desperately. I didn’t ever express to them how lonely I felt as I never wanted them to worry. I was raised Catholic and although I may bend the terms and conditions of my Catholicism at times, I still find comfort in churches and prayer. However, after being in the cathedral that day, I felt angry with God like he had deserted me. I stopped to pick up a dummy that had fallen from my hand and as I bent down I noticed something peeking out from underneath my foot. It was a small card, the type bought in the cathedral. gift shop, with the picture of a Saint on the front. The Saint was Saint Etheldreda and on the back it read as shown:
St Etheldreda was an Anglo-Saxon Saint and is known as the Queen of the Fens or the Abbess of Ely. Etheldreda restored a ruined church and in time it become a monastery, which was on the site where Ely Cathedral now stands in all its magnificent glory. There is still a memorial of where her shrine once stood in the Ely Cathedral as pictured below.
The words on the back of that card had a significant affect on me that day. It felt my prayer had been answered and that God was with me and knew the uncertainty I felt. Therefore I have kept that little card with me in the back of my purse and it will stay there, as it acts as a reminder to me that those moments of isolation and hesitance can be overcome.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I understand many people don’t follow a religion but I thought I would share the history of this day as it is one I find interesting. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments as always.