While a few of us here at the Catholic Herald owned Tiny Saints
before Connor Bergeron wrote his story about them, our collective love for Tiny
Saints was ignited and reignited as the story went to press. Our production
coordinator Stacy Rausch decided to place an order, and even more Saints were
purchased by the staff. Here is what Tiny Saints, and specifically the saints
we’ve chosen, mean to us.
Though I don’t have this charm yet, I plan to snag the newest
member of Tiny Saints, St. Francis de Sales. I think saints enter our lives at
the request of Christ, who knows where we are in our lives and what will draw
us back to him. For me, St. Francis de Sales was persistent. I was
grammatically crippled as a child, was pulled out of class for extra help. Only
after graduating from De Sales University, I began to learn about the saint. My
relationship to the saint expanded when I worked with the Salesian Lay
Missioners, whose founder, St. Don Bosco, named his order after one of his
favorite saints, St. Francis de Sales. Reading his writings, he’s helped me to
understand masculinity as something that is not beating a club against my
chest, but rather being strong and gentle, through an interior peace that is
nurtured in Christ. Somehow I became literate, and was accepted by the Herald
as a staff writer. Since working here, he’s come to my aid from countless
prayers I’ve uttered when typing a story.
While visiting with friends in St. Augustine, Florida, I stumbled
across Tiny Saints in the gift shop by the site of the first Mass in America.
Little did I know, Tiny Saints were created right in my own backyard.
Immediately, my friends and I started picking out charms of saints we knew
friends or relatives would like. I ended up buying two charms for myself — St. Junipero Serra and
Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin.
For many years, even before he was a saint, I have had a
beautiful prayer card of St. Junipero that reads, “Always go forward and never
turn back!” That saying inspired me as a teenager, and years later I was able
to visit one of his missions in California and be present at his canonization
Mass in Washington, the first canonization in the United States.
I also bought recently canonized Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin
because I had gotten engaged only months before. I knew that as spouses, my
future husband and I would be called to bring each other closer to God — all
the way to heaven — and I love that the Martins did just that. They raised some
pretty swell kids, too, like St. Therese of Lisieux. And finally, because I am
not above superficiality, I liked Zelie because there are so few Z names in the
I’ve learned more about the saints since I’ve picked them, and
each day that I see their adorable, plastic faces from my keychain I am
reminded of my faith, and theirs.
I got myself St. Bridget of Ireland, who is the patron saint of
artists. I have been struggling to find my way creatively lately, and figured
carrying around this Tiny Saint might help spark some inspiration.
I also purchased St. Paul for a friend who is a writer, and St.
Louis, King of France, for her husband who is an architect. I think these are
so adorable, and are tangible objects to pray with.
Both of my Tiny Saints were given to me by Nativity Youth
Minister Ingrid Sánchez-Seymour when I did a story on the Nativity’s vacation
Bible school last summer. I got St. Edith Stein and St. Maria Goretti, two of
my favorite saints.
When I was little, my mom had a documentary about St. Maria
Goretti that we would watch. It always amazed me how holy and forgiving she was
at such a young age and under the most painful circumstances. She was a great
role model for giving love and mercy to enemies. Her murderer’s conversion is a
testament to the fact that hardened hearts can change through grace.
St. Edith Stein, a convert to Catholicism, insisted that the bishops
in the Netherlands voice their opposition to the invading Nazi regime even
though it would mean her death. She is a reminder that the church has the right
and responsibility to be involved in the political arena, especially when it
involves the destruction of human life. Whenever I hear someone say that
the church should stay out of politics I think, “Tell that to Edith.”
I believe that saints are as special as angels who watch over and
protect us. So one of my favorite Tiny Saints is Our Lady of Good Health. Good
health and healing are two things that I am
do not take for granted and am truly thankful for.
So I pray continuously to the saints and GOD that I continue to
be in good health.
My Tiny Saints include two sword wielders, St. Michael and St.
Paul; two Polish saints, St. Faustina and St. Maximilian Kolbe; and Our Lady of
Guadalupe. These saints represent different areas that I either need assistance
with or want to focus my attention on — including conversion, evangelization,
mercy, motherhood, and the ongoing battle against evil. For me, the saints
serve as a reminder to pray and ask for intercession. Every time I grab my
keys, the small “communion” on my keychain reminds me that I’m part of the
larger communion of saints.
Mary Stachyra Lopez
I’m not entirely sure what led me to select St. Lucy as my
confirmation saint at age 9. I do know I was impressed by how she seemed
beautiful both inside and out, and stayed true to her faith despite being
imprisoned and tortured. While most people will recognize St. Lucy because of the
evergreen wreath and candles she wears on my charm, the traditional imagery is not festive. She is generally pictured holding a
plate containing her eyes — which her captors cruelly ripped out because she
would not renounce Christ. My St. Lucy charm is a reminder to have courage to
do what is right despite the consequences, and to be a light in the darkness. She
also turned out to be the perfect confirmation saint for me because she is the
patron of writers and people with vision problems.
Elizabeth A. Elliott
I chose St. Therese of Lisieux because I have prayed to her many
times over the years. She grants roses for prayers answered. I prayed to her
when I was discerning a vocation to be a nun. I asked for a peach rose if it
was the right path for me to consider. I found one on a table while on vacation
and knew it was from her. I also prayed for a blue rose, trying to ask for an
impossible color to be sure, when I was deciding between convents. I found one
on a hand towel when I was visiting one of the convents.
Ever since I was confirmed and chose to do a report on the Little
Flower, I have received her intercession. I believe she has been with me at
many points and all of the gifts I received for confirmation ended up having
roses involved in some way.
© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017