Last year I taught a class at Coram Deo called Becoming Saints. Since that class, our oldest daughter has remained interested in learning about Saints. She especially loves discovering Saints whose Feast Days align with a friend or family member’s birthday.
While this is an odd thing to brag about … our family has some great birthday Feast Days. Mine is St. Irenaeus of Lyons, defender of second-century orthodoxy and subject of my Masters thesis. Vivien’s is Mother Theresa. Our oldest daughter has St. Clare of Assisi, and our son’s birthday falls on the Feast of the Apostles St. Jude and St. Simon.
Once we arrived home from the hospital and got a few hours of sleep, I pulled out my handy Saint of the Day book and searched for March 3rd. When I first saw the entry, I was a bit disappointed. Most of our family’s Saints span the great history of the Church; Billie’s lived in the 20th century. St. Katharine Drexel, who died in 1955.
But as I continued reading, I was encouraged by both the opening sentences of her her story and by the commentary offered by the Saint of the Day editor, both of which you can read below:
If your Father is an international banker and you ride in a private railroad car, you are not likely to be drawn into a life of voluntary poverty. But if your mother opens your home to the poor three days each week, and your father spends half an hour each evening in prayer, it is not impossible that you will devote your life to the poor and give away millions of dollars. Katharine Drexel did that.
Saints have always said the same thing: Pray, be humble, accept the cross, love, and forgive. But it is good to hear these things in the American idiom from one who, for instance, had her ears pierced as a teenager, who resolved to have “no cake, no preserves,” who wore a watch, was interviewed by the press, traveled by train, and could concern herself with the proper size of pipe for a new mission. These are obvious reminders that holiness can be lived in today’s culture as well as in that of Jerusalem or Rome.
May Billie—and her parents!—follow the example of this modern Saint.