Ordinary sainthood

el_greco_-_st_veronica_holding_the_veil_-_wga10457Once in a while when I have a hard time and I feel alone in my everyday struggles, I am given a glimpse into the communion of saints. For a moment, I see all those who have passed away and who are supporting me with all their might, so I am also able make the best use of my life. I imagine that there in Heaven we will sit together having a heavenly cup of tea. I remember the saints who had a big influence on me at different times of my life: St. Ignatius, St. Madeleine Sophie, St. Teresa, St. fr. Pio, two St. Francises, St. Filipine… and many others. They are not only an example for us. They are present!

Recently I talk a lot with students about holy patrons, especially those of Confirmation and that they are the ones supporting us most. Somehow, on this occasion I personally felt a little bad. After all,  Eve, my predecessor had quite a shameful past, and although it is nice to have a name after the first woman, I can’t find much in her biography to follow. There was also one blessed Eve, but her vocation was closing herself in a small room with bars… and that’s not exactly my sensitivity. My middle name is Mary and she is indeed a patron of the highest quality and the most holy among people, but is therefor intimidating with her immaculate conception. So I am left with my patron from Confirmation. The story of her is quite complicated. Originally it was supposed to be Victoria (I am definitely too ashamed to say exactly why Victoria 😉 ), but my catechist said that there is no such saint (which is actually not true…) and I had to settle for Veronica.

Unfortunately St. Veronica doesn’t seem to be a very good patron either. The problem with her is that in fact she really does not exist (this probably my catechist did not know) – she was made up by the christian tradition in the fourth century – only then began the story of a woman who wiped the face of Jesus on the way of the cross. Her name comes from the words vera eikon ( “real image”). For a while I was disappointed that I didn’t have anyone to turn to… until suddenly it came to me!

Maybe it was because of the year of mercy, that I was able to realize that since my patron Veronica does not exist, she is the symbol of the millions of ordinary anonymous saints who have not been raised to the altars, who don’t have their images on pictures, whose CVs are not being read and whose feasts are not being celebrated. But they are enjoying eternal life in Heaven, because they lived their lives in friendship with Jesus, doing good and being merciful to the suffering neighbor, not considering this as heroism, but something most ordinary. Perhaps among such saints is my grandmother, my uncle, a next door neighbor. Being a saint is not about great things we did, on the contrary, it’s about seeing how we can do nothing without God and letting Him work in us without resistance.  Saint Veronica became an unusual patron for me, because she shows that holiness is really for everyone, it is just as near as a wipe of the veil.

About s. Ewa Bartosiewicz RSCJ

I am a religious sister from the Society of the Sacred Heart in Poland. In June 2015 I have made my first vows and started work in Gdynia as a catechist. Now I live in Poznań and am responsible for the Vocation Ministry.
This entry was posted in God is good. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *