"Developing Relationships with the Saints" by Hannah Christensen (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2017 Tami Kiser. All rights reserved.

As Catholics, we are gifted with a wonderful heavenly family. The family of saints. I love the saints. I think the idea of having holy people praying for us and watching out for us from Heaven is an awesome blessing. But it's also a blessing that I don't take advantage of enough. I have found it difficult to incorporate intercession to the saints in my personal prayer life.

I try to say novenas such as the St. Joseph novena happening right now, (See Pray More Novenas to sign up for email notifications for monthly novena options). I try to celebrate some of the main feast days such as St. Valentines Day and St. Patrick's Day. This year, my goal is to make simple cupcakes or a small craft with my kids monthly to commemorate a unique saint that we don't normally celebrate. But I still feel the need to do more by actually calling on the saints regularly for their intercession in my daily prayer.

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This episode of the Relationships Program with Elizabeth Ficocelli gave me those additional tips I have been searching for and the encouragement I need to keep pursuing a relationship with the saints.  These are the main points I took away from Elizabeth's talk:

Ask the Holy Spirit to help us find saints that resonate with our particular state in life and to connect us with the saints that will most affect us in a positive spiritual way.  They are role models and living souls who can powerfully intercede for us. It's like a matching game with the Holy Spirit matching us up with the saint we most need at that time.

Read about them or read their actual writings. Elizabeth recommends finding the actual writings of the saints, when possible, because it allows us to have an insider's perspective of what was in their minds and hearts when they were walking their early journey. This is an area that I would like to delve into more. As a married woman, I feel drawn to the saints that had the same vocation as I do and I would love to read their personal writings on their marriage and family life. In particular, I would like to read the letter correspondence between St. Louise and St. Zelie.

Sometimes saints will come to us in our lives and we don't even have to seek them out. This part I would love to experience, and I just haven't quite had that connection yet but I am hopeful that a saint will choose me sometime soon, or that I will be made aware of ways I have already encountered the saints approaching me that I hadn't realized before.

They can relate to human relationships because they experienced those in their own lives; even those saints who were cloistered knew what it was like to be in relationship with other people, often difficult people, in their religious communities. Even though they seem like such lofty people, they were not much different than any of us when they were going through the human struggles of life.

The saints teach us virtues; each saint can model a particular virtue according to their story and their writings. Virtue is a universal concept that does not go out of date. The virtues that are hard for each of us, may be different, but we all have particular virtues we need to work on with our family relationships. What we personally see in their stories can help us relate to them and seek their help with a particular virtue or vice.

Elizabeth challenges the viewers at the end of the presentations to figure out who our saints are. There are plenty of options for each person depending on our unique experiences, crosses, and the season of life we are each currently in. I have recently started a page in my prayer journal with a litany of our family patron saints and other saints that I relate to and I hope to continue to expand and dive deeper into that list through reading and intentional intercessory prayer.

She spoke of this really wonderful tradition that she and her family do. They draw names of saints on All Saints Day and then whichever saint each person picks is their saint for the year.  The object is to learn about that saint, to call on that saint throughout the year and have their picture handy so you are reminded to pray to them, and then to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask why did He connect you to that particular saint at this particular time in your life.

For me, I mostly associate myself with St. Philomena (my patron saint), St Joseph (I pray to him for my husband frequently), St. Zelie (who was a mother and wife with daughters just like me), St Margaret of Scotland (who raised 8 children and promoted her Catholic faith) and St. Gianna Molla (who was a  working mother and a pro-life advocate). These are the saints I want to continue to grow in relationship with and develop a strong connection to.

Who are your saints?

Relationships series by Tami Kiser (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2017 Tami Kiser. All rights reserved.

See more reviews of the Relationships series.

Copyright 2017 Hannah Christensen