On November 1, we celebrate the Feast of All Saints. When we think of saints, we may think of a personal or community patron.
We may also think of well known saints such as Saint Teresa of Ávila (pictured right) and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, whose feasts are in October. We are inspired by the saints' faith, perseverance and total commitment to the life of grace and seek to emulate their virtues. But what is it exactly that we celebrate on All Saints Day?
You may wonder: What do we have in common with the saints? How can we relate to them?
Saints were people seeking to live a life of commitment to their values. They believed that they were made in the image and likeness of God and strove to live in union with God. But all saints were honoured as saints only after they died; when they were alive, they were simply ordinary people seeking to express their faith and live out their beliefs in meaningful and tangible ways.
The Feast of All Saints is not only a celebration of the saints who have been recognized up to this date. It is also a celebration of saints who may be recognized in the future. During the Feast of All Saints, we recognize that we are surrounded by saints in the making. They live among us, en route towards sanctity.
Teresa of Ávila was a cloistered nun who was both active and contemplative. Thérèse of Lisieux (pictured right) lived a life of prayer, simplicity and service. They did not create or experience miracles; they were gentle, kind, normal people who lived out the Gospel values within their own communities.
As we celebrate the Feast of All Saints, let us remember those who have already attained sanctity. But let us be sure not to forget the living saints who are among us now. They are also part of the communion of saints that we celebrate on November 1.
By Sister Jacqueline de Verteuil
with Ibrahim Ng