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Living saints today? Have you met any?

Living saints today? Have you met any?

Where have all the saints gone?

St. Francis in the Garden

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.

Living Saints?

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).


September 17th is the Feast Day of St. Hildegard of Bingen.

September 17th is the Feast Day of  St. Hildegard of Bingen.
September 17th is a special day on the Catholic Church calendar as it is the feast day of a Doctor of the Church: St. Hildegard of Bingen.

Saint Hildegard Feast Day

Saint Hildegard had been venerated as a Saint in the Rhineland for centuries, and, although she is also listed in the Acta Sanctorum, the official Calendar of Saints in the Catholic Church, more than 800 years after her death had passed before Pope Benedict XVI officially canonized her for the whole Catholic Church on Pentecost Monday, May 10, 2012.  On October 7 of the same year, also by the personal intervention of the German pope, Hildegard – the fourth woman after Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena and Therese of Lisieux – was promoted as a Doctor of the Church.

September 17th

September 17th is a special day on the Catholic Church calendar as it is the feast day of a Doctor of the Church: St. Hildegard of Bingen.  While some would like to think of her as the patron saint of creativity, the Catholic Church hasn’t made that an official acknowledgement yet, but we can hope.

On September 17, 2013, American filmmaker, Michael Conti, was in Germany to complete filming for his documentary and took part in the procession of Hildegard’s relic during her feast day.  It was a remarkable experience that I included in my film,  The Unruly Mystic: Saint Hildegard.

Feast Day for Saint Hildegard of Bingen, September 17th - Catholic Calendar

Feast Day for Saint Hildegard of Bingen, September 17th – Catholic Calendar

A saint’s feast day can be the day of their actual death or a day assigned by the Church. Typically, the Church only assigns a day when the day of death is unknown or if several other saints are already assigned to that day. The number of canonized saints, however, is greater than the number of days in a calendar year. So two or more saints often share the same feast day. Because overlap often occurs, and the Church isn’t sure of the date of death of some saints, other calendar dates are sometimes chosen — such as the day that the saint was canonized.

Now more than ever relevant!

Now more than ever relevant!


We all long for order in which fairness, justice and compassion for all people is demonstrated by our respective governments. Saint Hildegard had her own “unruly-ness” to the powers of the church by allowing an excommunicated nobleman to be buried in the cemetery at the convent. Whose teaching was she following in taking that unruly action?  That teaching is still relevant today.

Now more than ever relevant!

Audiences this past week in Atlanta and Boulder were fired up by Saint Hildegard’s 12th Century activism, creativity and ability to speak her mind from 800 years ago.

Isn’t it time you became unruly?

Students at Oxford Emory University

Students at Oxford Emory University