"The saints are with us" by Hannah Christensen (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2017 Hannah Christensen. Created by the author in Canva. All rights reserved.

The other day was the feast of St. Louis and St. Zelie. I saw it in passing on Facebook late in the evening and felt a little bummed. I had almost missed one of my favorite feast days. I've been trying to do a better job of acknowledging and celebrating feast days. I've felt a stronger yearning to know the community of saints more after reviewing the Relationship with the Saints episode from the Catholic Conference for Women. But they usually get put last. By the time I focus on the Trinity, the Sacraments, and the Holy Family, it seems like I run out of time, energy or I just completely forget to reflect on the lives of the saints.

The forgotten feast day of St. Louis and St. Zelie is a good reminder, (probably a nudge from my guardian angel), to stay more in tune with the liturgical calendar of feast days. I try to put our family feasts and patron saints on my google calendar so that I'm thinking about them ahead of time and can remember to say a prayer to each saint on their special day.

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One of our family goals for the year is to celebrate at least one feast day a month with a craft or activity. For instance, in April, I helped my kids make campfire crafts to celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Siena. I traced their handprints on red, yellow and orange construction paper for the flames, added brown construction paper wood logs and wrote her famous quote across the page: "Be who you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire."

There are plenty of easy family ideas to celebrate the saints online, either on Pinterest, Google, or through websites. Some of my favorite places to find ideas are Catholic Icing, A Slice of Smith Life and the Catholic Kids Facebook Page.  I've also found some helpful videos on YouTube to highlight the stories of certain saints.

Reading about the saints can be so helpful as well in becoming more familiar with them. Either reading books about their lives or reflecting on the writings they themselves wrote. A quick Amazon or Google search will give you plenty of options for all age groups. My point is that we have so much valuable information right at our fingertips about the saints, but are we utilizing it?

The daughter of St. Gianna Molla, Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla, recently visited my diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. She is acquainted with the Lincoln community that runs Catholic Social Services, the St. Gianna's Women Home and a coffee shop called Gianna's Java and Gelato. I did not get a chance to see her but hearing how she was in my hometown really impacted me. It struck me how REAL the community of saints is and how they have shared the normalcy of life that we all have. Having the daughter of a modern-day saint so close to me in location, visiting places I have visited, was inspiring.

It reminded me that I need to rely on the saints for their guidance and intercession more simply because they are human, they are tangible, and they triumphed over the same struggles during their lifetimes that we are wrestling with now.

All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Copyright 2017 Hannah Christensen