Where have all the saints gone?
Living saints? Have you met any? Not a Hindu or Catholic Saint, placed on candle-lit altar or in rose garden. But a living saint today. Someone who projects a oneness with the world, is filled with loving compassion, who has a purpose of being in service to others? A humble person who is truly awake?
I have been asking these questions, not as a religious person, but as a filmmaker who has made several films on past saints, the visionaries who woke us up like Naturalist John Muir and Mystic Saint Hildegard of Bingen; my own patron saint of creativity, has lead me to the idea who wouldn’t appreciate more saints?
What would they look like? Where would you meet them? At a volunteer or charity event? A yoga studio? A meditation retreat? At the office? I bet you haven’t met a lot, if any at all. So where have all the saints gone? We should have more. We have a greater population now than when historical saints lived. We are more educated. We have the internet of all things amazing. So, why don’t we have more saints? Is organized religion turning them away? Are we treating them with antipsychotics? Are they self-medicating with recreational drugs?
Obviously I am not alone if you google “Where have all the saints gone?” The question generally gets turned to who are the living saints today? With wonderful answers from people that have meet Mother Teresa or other Sainted modern religious figures that were only officially canonized after their deaths.
I like this comment I found: “There are many living saints amongst us right now that we do not know of, simply because it wasn’t part of God’s will for them to be revealed to us. So it’s always good to love your neighbor, not only because we are called to do so, but also because you never know when you are talking to a saint!”
That is so true.
When I set out to make my films, I didn’t know at the time, that I would also be exploring that question in a more timely perspective as my subject material was historical figures that had personally inspired me and others into our live’s purposes. “Early Christian communities venerated hundreds of saints, but historical research by 17th- and 18th-century Catholic scholars determined that very few of these saints’ stories were backed by solid historical evidence. Lives of such well-known figures as St. George, St. Valentine, and St. Christopher were based either on a legend that often predated Christianity or were entirely made up. Other saints had local followings. In rural France, St. Guinefort was venerated as the protector of infants after he saved his master’s baby from a snakebite. Saint Guinefort was a dog!” (Appeared in the November 2013 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 78, No. 11, page 46).