All Saints

The Solemnity of All Saints
2016 – Cycle C
Revelation 7: 2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12


Photography has been around for about two hundred years.  And so, we have photographs of them!  No longer do we have to create imagined likenesses because we have photographs of the women and men who lived among us in our time.  Men and women who lived out holiness from the beginnings of our incredible age of technology which regretfully also gave birth to a century that has experienced so much war, hatred, and violence.  They are courageous women and men who reached out to the oppressed, the poor and the ostracized from our society because of the fear of disease, race or prejudice.  And as we contemplate them they look out at us.  Real, not sanitized, people with complicated lives like ours.


In the light of the racial tensions in our country, Katherine Drexel looks out at us, an American heiress who bridged the 19th and 20th centuries (1858-1955) addressed the plight among the Afro-American and Native American peoples of our nation.


saints-maximillian-kolbesaints-edith-steinPolish, Maximilian Maria Kolbe and the German Jewess, Edith Stein look out at us.  Both were martyred at the hands of the Nazis.  They not only put us in touch with early Christian martyrs but with present Christians who are being  persecuted and martyred in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and Rouen, France – Fr. Jacques Hamel.  saints-jacques-hamel-sj“Blessed are they when they insult you and persecute you…”


Syracuse, New Yorker, Marianne Cope assisted the Belgian, Damien de Veuster as they cared for the lepers of Molokai.  In the age of AIDS, how many of us have responded with fear and judgement to people whose illnesses frighten us?  Marianne and Damien’s gaze challenge us.

saints-pierre-toussaintThe Haitian slave, Pierre Toussaint (whose name translates as ‘All Saints’) and the Sudanese slave, Josephine Bakhita remind us that Christiasaints-josephine-bakhitanity acknowledges the dignity of the human being as the world struggles with human trafficking, the slave trade and the child sex industry and labour.  These darker skinned individuals confront us with the many people who continue to be enslaved by race, bigotry and prejudice.  Their eyes mingle the sadness and pain of slaves with the hope of a renewed future for humanity.



The joy-filled eyes of Albanian, Teresa of Kolkata, always reminding us that the poor and the outcast are Christ in our midst.  “Blessed are those who show mercy…”


saints-miguel-prosaints-oscar-romerosaints-jerzy-popielusckoIn a world that experiences so much injustice, Mexican, Miguel Pro, the Salvadoran, Oscar Romero and the Pole, Jerzy Popieluszko were martyred for justice sake.  Their eyes reflecting the prayers of forgiveness for their murderers.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…”

saints-therese-of-lisieuxsaints-adre-bessettesaints-padre-piosaints-faustina-kowalskaThe gentle look of the poor in spirit are given to us in Therese of Lisieux, a monastic, Andre Bessette, a doorkeeper, sacristan and laundry worker, Padre Pio, a mystic who lived most of his life in poor health, and Faustina Kowalska, a visionary of Christ’s mercy.

From the photographs, the saints look out at us from the not so distant past.  Their eyes reflect that holiness in this century is grounded in standing with and advocating for those people who are poor, persecuted and suffering injustice.  We can look into their eyes which are filled with hope.  Hope in a century that has known so much suffering and pain.  Into that pain and suffering these men and women brought Christ.

What do your eyes reflect to the world?


The Saints, Blesseds, Venerables and Servants of God pictured in order:

Saint Andre Bessette of Montreal
Servant of God Dorothy Day
Saint Josephine Bakhita
Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko
Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton
Saint Katherine Drexel
Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe
Saint Edith Stein – Benedicta of the Cross
Martyr Fr. Jacques Hamel
Saint Marianne Cope
Saint Damien de Veuster (Damien of Molokai)
Venerable Pierre Toussaint
Saint Josephine Bakhita
Saint Teresa of Kolkata
Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro
Blessed Oscar Romero
Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko
Saint Therese of Lisieux
Saint Andre Bessette
Saint Padre Pio
Saint Faustina Kowalska
Servant of God Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York
Saint Pope Pius X
Blessed Pope Paul VI
Saint Mary Mackillop
Saint Pope John XXIII
Servant of God Issac Hecker
Saint Pope John Paul II
Saint Damien de Veuster (Damien of Molokai)

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