These women, these saints, they’ve given us so much over the years. Something is quite right about setting aside time to remember them, a day to celebrate their legacies of faith.
I remember when she told me ‘we have a point of view, only God has view.’ I recall the words about how faith infuses art, poetry giving way to prayer, writing as sacrament. She showed me icons could help me see The Holy better, that a journal could become an arena of spiritual formation. When Saint Madeleine L’Engle died, I cried and felt her loss.
Diana, Princess of Wales, died so quick, so tragic. But in her wake a larger loss for me was the quiet passing of Mother Teresa. She embodied sacrificial love and respect for the humanity of each soul despite their physical form. Even amid her own personal struggle she lived faithful to Jesus, caring for the untouchables that littered the streets of Calcutta. She never gave up on love. Her death hurt.
When Wangari Maathai died, I bent over and wept with the trees of Kenya. No one taught me more about tending creation, planting trees for our health and healing. Her story chastened then corrected me and I’ve never seen soil the same since. Yes, I miss her.
Others stay with me, caught in the weft of my memory like my grandmother’s Estee Lauder perfume. Rebecca Oakes Long, the shepherd with no ego yet such humor and humility as she led her flock with kindness amid her own chronic pain. Mary Jo Johnson, the straight shooter with bright eyes and quick wit, always eager to listen, to laugh with me. Donna Truitt, with her unvarnished candor, never shrank from telling me the truth as she saw it, but with such grace, such goodness. And my grandmother – she knew how to make an eight year old girl feel angelic. I carry these women close.
These are the saints I remember today, All Saint’s Day…