Like a book’s acknowledgments page, telling the stories of the saints reminds us that we didn’t get here on our own. Since the beginning of the church, there have been empires to be resisted, riches to be given away, and dishes to be washed. Not so different than today. So follow along as we chronicle the lives of some of the saints who inspire us. We hope you’re inspired, too.

Ryan Hammill 03-07-2016

When I talk to the Christians whom I want to emulate, I find that they talk about other people — a mentor or a pastor or a spouse or a parent or a writer or a friend or someone else who changed them. If their life had an acknowledgments page, it’d be pretty long. And if you could go talk to those people, they’d probably talk about someone else. And so would those people, and those people, and those people. And eventually, I guess you’d get all the way back to John or Martha or Mary or Peter. And they’d tell you all about this guy named Yeshua, whom they followed around for a few years in Capernaum and Jericho and Jerusalem. Which makes sense, I guess. Christianity isn’t about me following Jesus, following Yeshua.

Olivia Whitener 02-13-2017

St. Valentine, kneeling in supplication.

As Christian witnesses, we should use the feast of Saint Valentine to care deeply for one another and especially for those who are persecuted by those in power. Flowers and candies and candles are nice — but this year, I’d much rather be smashing patriarchy, overturning the “refugee ban,” creating pathways to citizenship, and supporting high quality education for all children. And my valentine can join me in my ventures.

Olivia Whitener 11-22-2016

Sharon Jones. Image via Man Alive!/Flickr

Earlier this year, Tripp Hudgins wrote a piece declaring that all his favorite theologians are dying. He listed David Bowie and Pete Seeger as two theologians whom he felt sang “real theology about a real God” during their lifetimes. Others would later add Prince and Phife Dog and Sharon Jones to their lists of songwriters who spoke lyrics of truth in a broken world and who are no longer with us. Leon Wieselthier described his friend Leonard Cohen as “the lyrical advocate of the finite and the flawed” in a beautiful eulogy in the New York Times just the other week. Could a musically gifted person of any faith be honored with better words than those?

Avery Davis 10-04-2016

Image via  /Shutterstock.com

Francis’ life shows us that were he with us today, he would likely be less concerned with the blessings of pets and more concerned with the racism and classism of our environmental problems.

Colin Chan Redemer 09-09-2016

The Church of St. Peter Claver in Cartagena, Colombia. Image via /Shutterstock.com

While the other Jesuits ministered to slaves and freedmen, Peter couldn’t take his mind off of the port and the bodies, both living and dead, that he had seen. He was given leave to focus his life’s work on welcoming these ships, doing acts of mercy for the living, and doing what was left to be done for the dead.

Olivia Whitener 09-03-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

A sign that hung in the volunteer room at Shanti Dan quoted Mother Teresa, reading, “I pray each one of you to be holy and so spread [God’s] love everywhere you go. Light [God’s] light of truth in every person’s life so that God can continue loving the world through you and me.”

This was not just a commission for those serving in Kolkata. Poverty, violence, hatred, sadness, hopelessness, crime, greed, darkness, jealousy exist in our homes across the world. And Mother Teresa was known for encouraging people to serve their neighbors in their hometowns or wherever they are called, striving to love each person as God loved us.

Christopher Hale 08-26-2016

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington in 1963. Image via Rowland Scherman; restored by Adam Cuerden (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)/Wikimedia Commons

Augustine’s proclamation, that “charity is no substitute for justice withheld,” helped form Catholic moral law and inspired the young Baptist preacher to pursue his ministry with a particular eye on the public sphere.
 
Augustine is some ways a perfect patron for King. As the fourth-century bishop of Hippo (modern-day Annaba Province, Algeria), many claim Augustine and his mother Monica as the church’s first black saints. And just as Augustine spoke to King, he speaks directly to today’s Christians. 
Rachel Malinowski 08-11-2016

By Simone Martini - The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain

St. Clare and the women religious who formed my faith taught me that there are as many ways to be a faithful woman as there are women on the earth. They taught me that you can serve God while being strong, outspoken, and good at what you do. Even more significantly, they taught me the importance of sharing stories about the many and varied ways that women serve God and their fellow humans.

Rachel Malinowski 07-29-2016

Zwiebackesser / Shutterstock.com

Martha was a disciple of Jesus, and she loved, supported, and hosted him for dinner, as friends do. Yet Martha, like all of us, sometimes became bogged down by the details of her hospitality, and as a result, lost sight of the presence of the God she was serving — the God who was literally right in front of her. In my own story I, too, failed to encounter God when God was right in front of me, present in my friends, distracted as I was by the details of my hospitality.

Olivia Whitener 07-22-2016

"Magdalen," by Georges de la Tour. Image via /Shutterstock.com

The woman who preached the first Easter sermon is known more for a fictionalized relationship with the Christ than for the words of light and life she brought to the world. The woman who stood by the cross until Jesus took his last breath is characterized by sexual promiscuity — one that is nowhere within the recounting of her ministry and her faithfulness.

Must Reads

Subscribe