featured image

Charlene Rack shares her very own, new and improved model for calling on the saints. Discern your own “strand of three!”

Years ago, upon learning about then-Venerable Solanus Casey, I formed a strong attachment to him (he was beatified in 2017.) Not only was he a compassionately holy and humble man, but he was also of Irish heritage, sharing a surname with my Grandma Casey. That would’ve been enough of a draw for me! I learned all that I could about Fr. Casey, the lowly doorman, and taught about him in our Dead Theologian’s Society youth group. (I started that youth group for my girls, and, over the years, it grew so big we had to find a location outside of our church to accommodate the crowd. We loved that youth group setting: saint teachings by candlelight, with Gregorian chant, a decade of the rosary, time spent in adoration before the exposed Sacrament. It was awesome! We “met” a lot of new saints.)


Years later, I joined the Catholic Mom contributor team. I already knew all about Venerable Patrick Peyton, and had recently composed a teaching about him for local youth groups, but I was blindly unaware of Catholic Mom’s essential connection to Fr. Peyton and his lifetime ministry. It was months before I figured that out. When I did, I was amazed and surprised by this “coincidence.” I now consider Father Peyton to be the patron of my writing, since I had only just decided to take my gift to a public platform.

Fr Peyton standing in front of Mary statue-1 


Of course, the fact of both Ven. Peyton’s and Bl. Solanus’s Irish descent did not escape me. That Irish connection made them more special to me. Watching the film Pray: The Story of Patrick Peyton, I was often brought to tears by Peyton’s words and his lilting Irish brogue, entreating the crowds to pray the Rosary and love the Lord with all their hearts. Fr. Peyton had to overcome his shyness to accomplish what he did, always in the spotlight, but the point is, both men did so much to spread the faith, and they each were humble and obedient enough to go where God led them. 

Just a few weeks ago, in this year of “perfect vision” (I keep reminding myself that this is a good theme for this year, because we’re learning to look more to God and our faith than ever before), I met the third and final saint for the completion of my “Prism.” Politicians and other civil leaders will let us down. There have even been conflicting viewpoints expressed by members our Church hierarchy, which muddies the waters for us. This is when I turn to the example of the Blessed Mother, quietly accepting the suffering and confusion, holding these sufferings “in my heart,” and trusting in God’s Holy Will.

With that thought in mind, a new-to-me saint blipped on my radar. Reading my daily Scripture reflections, I unexpectedly met St. André Bessette. As a professed brother, he was part of the same Holy Cross Congregation as Fr. Peyton, and is now the first canonized saint of that order! And he was a lowly doorkeeper, like Fr. Solanus, curing and consoling thousands in a similar manner.


As I learned more about St. André, I happened to be reading a novel by Michael O’Brien, A Cry of Stone. In the story, the main character goes to Montreal. She turns a corner in the city to come upon the largest church she’s ever seen. She describes this impressive green-domed structure high up on the hill, and suddenly I have goose bumps all over! It was the St. Joseph Basilica that Br. André had dreamed of, to replace the smaller St. Joseph shrine, built from his own efforts! Just another of those crazy (and beautiful!) situations where God starts revealing things so shockingly out-of-the-blue that I have no choice but to take notice! 

My three saints, interceding for me, will radiate the full spectrum of Christ’s light into my life, my work, my faith. #catholicmom

It all began to come into focus for me … these three “connected” saints are my new support team: three, indicating a theological significance. The Holy Trinity is three persons. And Ecclesiastes 4:12 has this to say: “Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.” Three is also the number of sides on an optical prism, and we all know what happens when white light passes through a prism.

My three saints, interceding for me, will radiate the full spectrum of Christ’s light into my life, my work, my faith. I’ve realized that it’s “Christ-within-them” that makes me so passionate in my attachment to them. When I call on them, they’ll carry me straight to the heart of Jesus. This prism is my new survival tool, these three who have made themselves known to me by various manifestations. I challenge you to discern your own Prism of Saints: find your special trio to encourage and strengthen you, leading you always to the source of all Truth and Grace.

Copyright 2020 Charlene Rack
Images: Bl. Solanus Casey, CC BY SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons; Ven. Patrick Peyton, courtesy of Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved; St. Andre Bessette, Public Domina, Wikimedia Commons