Friday, July 6, 2012

Top Ten Saints For Sinners

If you're struggling with sin, if temptations are half-killing you, if all seems lost - maybe have a word with one of the following in prayer, and ask for a little help.  After all, as my parish priest always reminds me, we are a community. 

1.  St. Margaret of Cortona
Formerly a mistress and rather loose woman, St. Margaret is now known as being a humble penitent of the Third Order of St. Francis.  She struggled with all kinds of sexual sin and temptation during her life, but turned that strife into a newfound love for the poor.  If you are the kind of person who struggles in a similar way, perhaps a quick prayer to St. Margeret might be in order?

2.  St. Anthony the Great
The temptations endured by arguably the greatest of the Desert Fathers are the stuff of legend.  My admiration for this man was once even declared to be almost pagan by a friend of mine, because I had made him out to be almost heroic in the Greek sense.  My own follies aside, I have always considered St. Anthony the Great to be the patron saint of those who struggle with sin and temptation of any and all kinds on a heavier than usual level - indeed, a simple reading of his Vita by none other than St. Athanasius is enough to inspire a Christian for a lifetime. 

3.  St. Faustina
I think that there are few saints in the Catholic world that could ever be of more benefit to a Christian reader's soul than St. Faustina.  A simple picking up and reading of even a few lines from her famous Diary is often enough to dispel the darkness of despair over sin and feeling unworthy of the mercy of God. 

4.  St. John Vianney
In many ways the model priest, St. John Vianney inflicted penances on himself for the sake of his flock, waged a prayerful war against the demonic nightly, and would spend almost entire days simply hearing the confessions of sinners.  He is, in many respects, the ultimate choice for a patron when one needs a good and holy man to pray on their behalf.

5.  St. Catherine of Siena
What inspired me most about this wonderful saint and Doctor of the Church was a story about her visits with a young man convicted of a serious crime and sentenced to die.  From what I remember of the tale, she did not leave the young man's side until she had awakened within him a perfectly contrite heart, and won his soul over to Christ.  She went with him to his beheading, encouraging him the entire way, and assuring him of the heaven that he was about to enter.  According to her letter concerning the event, she even held his head in her hands as it was severed from his body, and witnessed his soul ascend to glory.  She was with him to the end, and this to me speaks of a true patron for us sinners.

6.  St. Augustine of Hippo
The Confessions.  That is all.

7.  St. Catherine of Genoa
The saint who violently experienced Purgatory and the sufferings there, St. Catherine, once indifferent and prone to depression, as well as being unhappily married, became on of the greatest mystical saints of all time.  She devoted her life to caring for the sick and poor, had mystical experiences that were so famous that they became central to a study by William James in his The Varieties of Religious Experience, and became a patron of those suffering from sinful temptations.

8.  St. Isaac the Syrian
This pick probably comes a bit out of left-field, given that I think few Catholics in the West really know of this exceedingly holy and richly-spiritual monk.  His writings focus on the need for the gift of tears and repentance, and yet emphasize so very strongly the love and mercy of God that few have been able to touch it since.  His homilies and writings will comfort any soul afflicted with sin.

9.  St. Patrick of Ireland
It might seem off to pick St. Patrick for this list, but if one reads his not-famous-enough writing, the Confession, one will see why I did.  He calls himself the worst of the worst, unworthy, a coward, and a borderline imbecile, and yet he was still called by God to serve Him by almost single-handedly converting an entire country to the faith of Christ.  He struggled vehemently with all kinds of temptation, doubt, and hardship, and yet pulled through.  And though today, St. Patrick's Day has become little more than a bro-show for those who probably don't even have the slightest clue about the most beautiful country in the world, nor who its most beloved saint actually was, some of us penitent Catholics out there especially raise a goodly pint in honor of this wonderful saint on that day.  A most inspiring figure, even for the most hardened sinners among us.

10.  The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Refuge of Sinners - the one whom it was never known that a sinner, no matter how wretched was turned away from.  Yes, it's our Savior's Mother.  And sometimes, when the going gets rough, and we become bogged down in all kinds of hell and sin and depravity, not only is Jesus there to pick us up, but if we are to afraid to ask Him, sweet Mary will lead us to Him by the hand and help us back up to our feet again through her prayers. 

45 comments:

  1. St. Mary of Egypt is another good one : )

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    1. She almost made the list actually.

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  2. How could you keep St. Paul off this list? He is perhaps the best example for us of someone who was not only personally low, but who actively attacked Christians and all they stood for. God's mercy still reigned down upon him! What an awesome sign of hope and promise for sinners everywhere!

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    1. Because I am human and make mistakes - that's the honest answer. :)
      I was going to put him, but got so distracted by the others that I actually, honestly forgot.

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  3. Seconded, I was just about to suggest St. Mary of E!

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  4. St. Vladimir was a rapist. If he can do it, so can we.

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  5. St. Dismas, the Good Thief.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I love St. Dismas - I want his words to Christ tattooed on me. "Remember me, when You come into Your kingdom."

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    2. St Monica, mother of St. Augustine, prayed for many, many years for the conversion of her son, in his playboy lifestyle. She won his complete and glorious conversion. I pray to her for the conversion of my family members.

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    3. My advice to all who want their family to convert- write their names on a green scapular.Blessed Mother promises to grant them salvation before they die.Please check www.greenscapular.org

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  6. Notice that I said "saints for sinners" not "saints who were always horrific and notorious sinners". I thought of putting St. Paul, and indeed, he probably would have made the list if I had not forgotten at the last minute. But I wanted saints who seemed to be special patrons of those struggling with sin, not because they were necessarily once very sinful people, but because they speak to the struggle with sin, and how to overcome it.

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  7. I love this blog. May God brand the image of His Holy Face on all souls who enter here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXP3oUatFt0&feature=related

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing your love of the saints. For me, The Blessed Mother is full of love and mercy for every sinner, especially- me!

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    1. Especially all of us, I might add. The Blessed Virgin always inspires me to a greater love of Christ.

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  9. This is a great blog with an awesome resource! I also love the music arrangement and have been listening to it for over 2 hours. =)

    God bless you in your apostolate to souls.

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    1. Thank you Michael - it is always so encouraging to get comments like this. And yes, I listen to the music a lot too - I get a lot of it off a channel entitled "Callixtinus" on youtube. He hasn't posted in awhile, but his channel is a fantastic resource for Christian chant.

      Pax+
      Jason

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  10. Why didn't you list Mary, Our Lady, first??

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  11. Friend, simply because the list is in no particular order.

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  12. Dismas,
    Do you have the medal of the Holy Face?

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    1. Anonymous,

      Yes, as a matter of fact I wear the medal of the Holy Face. This devotion is one of my favorites that I picked up after reading The Golden Arrow; The Revelations of Sr. Mary of St. Peter. I have read this book many times. I never seem to grow weary of it. Every year during lent I obtain new medals and phamplets, have them blessed and leave a few at various churches near me.

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  13. I realize that, but she seems to be an after thought. She is, without a doubt, the greatest of all saints.

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    1. On the contrary, she is the crowning glory of the list. The final culmination, if you will.
      After thought? Never.

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  14. What? No Saint Padre Pio? No Saint Gemma Galgani?

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    1. St. Pio and St. Gemma were not great sinners.
      They were chosen to be saints at very tender ages.

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    2. Nor were St. Catherine of Sienna, St. John Vianney and St. Faustina great sinners. The blog is about saints FOR sinners; not saints who were great sinners.

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  15. Read the life of St. Moses the Ethiopian and St. Mary of Egypt. These are two examples that God's mercy is greater than any sin we can commit.

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  16. Saint Longinus- The proto martyr who is the centurion who pierced Christ's side on the Cross, is an excellent patron for those who sin gravely especially when they have willingly yeilded to sin with the grace available to avoid doing so.

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  17. Excellent post! Very inspiring since it gives hope for all us sinners and highlights patrons who pray for us and our loved ones. Nicely done!!!

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  18. Many thanx for this list! As a relatively new<2003> convert, I am not familiar with all the Saints. This list will be helpful when temptation and sin rear their ugly heads.

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  19. how about st. bartolo longo. he was a satanist before he became a saint

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  20. There are most likely hundreds if not thousands of saints that could have made this list. I suspect these (some forgotten or unknown) saints in particular were inspired by the Holy Spirit to have made this list. I personally am inspired and found some reminders (St. Patrick's confession once stirred my soul and I will be re-reading this, as I've been pretty discouraged lately. Thank you and may God continue to bless and lead you for the sake of our souls!!

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  21. I am reminded of St. Mary Magdalene,(feast day of July 22nd) who was well known as a sinner (prostitute and an adulteress). She was very beautiful and very proud, but after she met Jesus, she felt great sorrow for her evil life and repented. Our Lord could see into Mary's heart, and He said: "Many sins are forgiven her, because she has loved very much." Then to Mary He said kindly, "Your faith has made you safe; go in peace."

    She became the patroness of "wayward women", and "Magdalene houses" became established to help save women from prostitution.

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  22. I love this list! I am certainly adding the few of these I was unaware of to the ones I already use, such as Padre Pio :)

    Thank you for this. It must have been very, VERY difficult to narrow it to only 10

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  23. We are to pray to God and to Him alone!

    And only one who does not know Jesus would be "afraid to ask Him" for help.

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    1. Anonymous,

      Could I ask of you the very great favor, of having you say a few prayers to God for me in my regard? I'd be very very honored if you granted me this request.

      Regards,
      Dismas

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  24. We are to pray to God and Him alone!

    Only those who don't know Jesus are afraid to ask Him!

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    1. I was wondering when comments like this would show up - you're late! ;)

      God bless friend, but I am too tired to debate this kind of thing - already did a fair share for awhile, even with myself. If anyone else wants to jump in, they can.

      Pax+
      Jason

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    2. Prayer has more than one meaning. When we pray to those in heaven (the Saints) on our behalf, we are asking for their prayers as we would ask our sisters and brothers here on earth to pray for us in some particular need; they are our friends/brethren in heaven. This type of prayer is 'communicating.' When praying to God, and to God alone, that is called Worship. Yes, we can go to the Lord directly with our prayers, but as a child may ask his mother to plead with his father on his behalf due to (holy) fear and humility, so we can ask our brethren to 'pray' for us on our behalf. We Catholics do know Jesus - one of the most common prayers in our Sacred Tradition is 'My Jesus, Mercy!'

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  25. your number 2 saint...St. Anthony the Great
    is not spelled correctly..His correct spelling is ST.ANTONY ( WITH NO H )

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    1. On the contrary, it can be spelled either way.
      See here:
      http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-anthony-the-abbot/

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  26. Great job Idler!

    I know my patron has not yet been raised to Sainthood but I would love anyone following this discussion to find out about and to pray to Venerable Matt Talbot.

    Enjoy the favours that are dispensed by The Father,through Our Blessed Mother,through the intercession of Matt.

    God bless you all.

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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete