In honor of All Saints Day (remember, it’s a holy day of obligation y’all!), we’ve asked Aggie Catholic students and staff to share with us a little bit about their favorite saints! Whoop! Pope Benedict XVI said it perfectly, “Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom His own light becomes visible.”
So, let’s get started!
Martina Ricca ’21, Sophomore – St. Monica
St. Monica is a beautiful example of being steadfast in prayer. She maintained a close relationship with Jesus so as to bring her son into one with him as well. She exemplifies selfless service and a burning desire to bring others to Jesus. That amount of love for another is something that should be replicated. Her entire life was devoted to bringing others into communion with Jesus, and she did this with such strong conviction. Truly a beautiful example of servitude to others in the name of Jesus.
“Nothing is far from God.” – St. Monica
Clotilde Pichon, Campus Minister – St. Vincent de Paul
This is a tough one, because I have several. But I may put ahead St. Vincent de Paul, because of all he did for the poor and his legacy in this area. He called us to “see Christ in the poor and to be Christ to the poor”. And the St. Vincent de Paul Society has been where I really had an encounter with Christ. He is not the founder, but the saint patron of SVdP.
“It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.” – St. Vincent de Paul
Blake Noonan ’19, Senior and Campus Ministry Intern – Saint Catherine of Siena
She beautifully exemplified the true power of prayer, brought the Pope back to Rome, lived a life of beautiful asceticism, and provided some of the most profound insights that we have into the heart of God and the beauty of Heaven.
‘”All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, “I am the way.'” – St. Catherine of Siena
‘Nell Reinberg, Assistant Director of Admin – St. Jude and St. Anthony
I have 2 favorites, St. Jude Thaddeus and St. Anthony of Padua. There isn’t a specific quote that I associate with them. It is the grace from their gifts that I have loved for so long. It would take an endless length of paper to record all of the ‘impossible’ things that St. Jude has helped me through, and that St. Anthony has helped me find. They are real ‘Rock Stars’ in my book!
“Christians must lean on the Cross of Christ just as travelers lean on a staff when they begin a long journey.” – St. Anthony of Padua
Jamie Danek ’22, Freshman – St. Christina the Astonishing
She’s the patron saint of mental health. In the middle of her funeral she stood up and acted like nothing happened, and she would often be exposed to fires without being burned. She helped the homeless without having a home of her own, and could smell sin and would hide from it.
“You are never alone.” – St. Christina the Astonishing
Mark Knox, Director of Campus Ministry – St. Francis of Assisi
One of my favorite saints is Francis of Assisi. He never sought out to be famous, to be known, to start a religious order… He simply answered his individual call to be an authentic witness of faith and did so. It was more than a fad, but a complete overhaul of his life and what he valued. I’ve been to Assisi twice and also to the place of his stigmata (La Verna). The Lord has done great things through his witness.
Blayne Jemelka, Liturgy Coordinator – St. Augustine
He never stopped striving after Truth. Despite his wayward life before his conversion, his tireless efforts to reach the fullness of this Truth (that IS God Himself) made him one of the greatest saints and doctors of the Church.
“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”
Allison Seibert, Director of Annual Giving – St. Maximillian Kolbe
I love this Saint because of his incredible story: how he offered his life up to save another during his time as prisoner in Auschwitz. He is also my favorite because he is the patron of prisoners and drug addicts; many families across the US need someone to turn to when one of their loved ones are incarcerated or become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Maximilian Kolbe is someone that we can ask to intercede for our friends and family, even when we might be in despair and not know how to help them.
“The most deadly poison of our times is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits. Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers.” – St. Maximillian Kolbe
Christopher Lafitte, Director of Pastoral Counseling – St. Philip Neri
He had a tremendous love for people, a particularly special place in his heart for young adults, and did a lot of one on one pastoral ministry. As a counselor, his inclinations for ministry speak to my own ministerial desires. His love for them, conveyed through a wise and creative sense of humor, has always revealed to me a depth of Jesus’ own creative and joyful love for myself and others. It’s a mystery I really enjoy reflecting on.
Give me ten truly detached men and I will convert the world with them. – St. Philip Neri
Nathaniel Perry ’21, Sophomore – St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas came into my life freshman year of college and has had a very prominent role in strengthening my faith. A specific story near the end of his life has inspired me and caused a radical change in the way I live my life. St. Thomas was in a chapel praying, leaning his head against the tabernacle, when a voice came from the crucifix above him saying, “Thomas you have written well of me, what shall be your reward?” To which St. Thomas replied, “Nothing if not you Lord.”
“In prayer, I love to examine my life through the eyes of St. Thomas and pray for clarity and the grace to see where in my life is God not and how I can invite Him there. My ultimate goal is to have nothing if not my Lord.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
Emelie Gulde ’22, Freshman – St. Francis of Assisi
His genuine love and appreciation for the natural world and all of God’s creation. He abandoned a life of luxury and worldly success to follow where he was called.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi
Madeline Hill, Campus Minister – St. Teresa of Calcutta
St. Teresa of Calcutta continues to journey alongside me and remind me of the truth that I must consistently allow Jesus to speak in the silence of my heart if I desire to share Him with others. She reminds me that I must NEVER give up the daily intimate contact with Him. It can be easy to get swept up into the daily rhythm and things to do but I must never forget Him.
“I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one to one—you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying “I thirst” in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person—not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say “I love you”—impossible.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta
Karley Wren, Annual Giving Coordinator – St. Anne, mother of Mary
St. Anne is my Confirmation saint, but I never thought about her much after the ceremony. Recently, I have begun praying to her, and she has responded in very real and clear ways. She listens to our requests, just as any wonderful grandmother would.
Favorite Quote: There are no recorded quotes from St. Anne (that I know of) and she is not mentioned in the New Testament. However, the ultimate explanation of her life and dedication to Christ culminate in her wonderful motherhood to our Mother Mary. The fact that God trusted St. Anne to raise the mother of us all says everything I need to hear!
Joseph Pettibon ’22, Freshman – St. John Paul II
My favorite saint is St. John Paul II. His devotion to the Church, the Eucharist, Mother Mary and his teachings on chastity have been instrumental in shaping my faith life. His example of love always speaks to my heart and, as love should, demands of me, action to become a better man. Also, I have always felt drawn to him as his feast day lands on my birthday!
“Jesus does not say ‘no’ to the authentic demands of the heart, but only a clear, loud ‘yes’ to life, to love, to freedom, to peace and to hope. With Him no goal is impossible and even a small act of generosity grows and can lead to change.” – St. John Paul II
Lauren Gulde, Media and Communications Coordinator – Blessed Solanus Casey
Blessed Solanus Casey’s life story is one so simple, that sometimes I wonder how he was discovered at all. Except, that his prayers and kindness as the doorkeeper at his Capuchin monastery are credited for the healing of over 4,000 individuals in the Detroit and New York areas in the first half of the 1900’s. He wasn’t deemed smart enough to be a diocesan priest. He tried again and barely made it to ordination as a Capuchin Franciscan priest, and then without license to preach or hear confessions. As the doorkeeper of the monastery, he welcomed rich and poor alike to the doors, and word spread that he would listen to and pray for anyone who needed a kind heart. And then, after he promised to pray, people would find themselves healed from their illnesses. Other miracles are attributed to Blessed Solanus, like taming bees, and my young childrens’ favorite, the multiplication of ice cream cones!
“Worry is a weakness from which very few of us are entirely free. We must be on guard against this most insidious enemy of our peace of soul. Instead, let us foster confidence in God, and thank Him ahead of time for whatever He chooses to send us.” – Blessed Solanus Casey
Laurita Keeler, Assistant Director of Music – St. Francis of Assisi
My favorite saint is St. Francis of Assisi! He’s my favorite for so many reasons. He had a love and conviction of profound poverty, that is to be completely poor in all ways knowing that conformity to Jesus was where his true wealth and joy would be found. He also had an intense love for the cross of Jesus where he’d spend hours and hours in contemplative prayer. He was also an artist, and we see this in his poetry and some of his prayers where his heart praised so beautifully alongside the resounding hymn that creation was also singing.
“O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! The Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that He hides Himself for our salvation under and ordinary piece of bread! See the humility of God, brothers, and pour out your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by Him! Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves, so that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally.” – St. Francis
Sarah Walsh ’19, Senior and Campus Ministry Intern – St. Gemma Galgani
I love St. Gemma because her love for Jesus is wild and worth emulating. My own love for Jesus is stretched and made better by knowing her. St. Gemma was quiet, humble, and very kind. If you want to be blown away, read about her experiences with apparitions of Our Lord. She is the patron saint against temptations and against the death of parents… DEFINITELY A PAL I WANT BY MY SIDE! St. Gemma, pray for us!!!!
“I shall love You [Jesus]; I shall love You always! When day breaks, when evening turns into night, at every hour, at every moment; I shall love You always, always, always!” -Saint Gemma Galgani
Fallon Scanlan, FOCUS Team Director, Texas A&M – St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, among other Carmelites, is one of my favorite saints! She helps me feel a little less crazy when she speaks about her love for the Lord. I like to say she started stalking me a few years ago when she helped me discover the living reality of the Trinity within my soul. This truth has changed the way I see everything, and the way that I live! With the realization that God is within me, my eyes become more like His, and He constantly transforms my heart into His own. St. Elizabeth showed me that all souls can experience this living truth. She and Therese are two friends of mine who always remind me of this truth and point me ever more towards union with our Lord.
“Make my soul…Your cherished dwelling place, Your home of rest. Let me never leave You there alone, but keep me there all absorbed in You, in living faith, adoring You.” – St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Sarah Tisdel ’22, Freshman – St. Francis of Assisi
For starters, he is my confirmation saint! St. Francis always sought out to express his love to God through loving all of His creations. He is such a big inspiration to me because he gave up his luxurious lifestyle to live a life of poverty while fully devoting himself to spreading the word of the Lord! He was able to overcome a lot of hardships in his life while still remaining faithful…and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergogli chose to take his name, later becoming Pope Francis!! So neat!!
“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” – St. Francis of Assisi
Fr. Greg Gerhart, Associate Pastor – St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas exemplified the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” I find his writings to be immensely helpful not only to understand the faith but to live it out in freedom and joy.
[The Eucharist] confers grace spiritually together with the virtue of charity. Hence Damascene (De Fide Orth. iv) compares this sacrament to the burning coal which Isaias saw (Isaiah 6:6): “For a live ember is not simply wood, but wood united to fire; so also the bread of communion is not simple bread but bread united with the Godhead.” But as Gregory observes in a Homily for Pentecost, “God’s love is never idle; for, wherever it is it does great works.” And consequently through this sacrament, as far as its power is concerned, not only is the habit of grace and of virtue bestowed, but it is furthermore aroused to act, according to 2 Corinthians 5:14: “The charity of Christ presseth us.” Hence it is that the soul is spiritually nourished through the power of this sacrament, by being spiritually gladdened, and as it were inebriated with the sweetness of the Divine goodness, according to Canticles 5:1: “Eat, O friends, and drink, and be inebriated, my dearly beloved.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
Kevin Pesek, Campus Minister and RCIA Director – St. John the Baptist
Well, my confirmation saint is St. John the Baptist, often described as the forerunner of Jesus, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord” (Mk 1:3). If that had been me, I might be a little proud of that fact. But, John says, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). I look to John the Baptist as an example of humility in whatever good thing God calls me to do.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” – St. John the Baptist
Sr. Tatum McWhirter – Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo
I met Chiara at her funeral in Rome and ever since then she has made the communion of the Saints come alive for me as I talk with her often as a friend and sister.
“For each day there is grace. Day by day, I have only to make space.” – Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo
Fr. Brian McMaster, Pastor – St. John Paul II
My favorite saint is St. John Paul II! He was someone who inspired me while I was in college and modeled how to live priesthood joyfully. He also inaugurated the new evangelization!
“What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.” – St. John Paul II
Lauren married Curt at St. Mary’s in 1999. They have five fabulous children and live in College Station. In her spare time, Lauren loves to read, write, travel and design pretty things. When she’s not busy driving children around town, she is the Communications and Media Coordinator at St. Mary’s.