No two people are exactly alike, and thus, no two saints are the same. Just look at a random sample of some saints in the Catholic Church. Impetuous Saint Peter. Fiery Saint Teresa of Ávila. Comical Saint Philip Neri. Zealous Saint Paul. Humble Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Eccentric Saint Benedict Joseph Labre. Mystical Saint John of the Cross. Trust-filled Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. The list goes on and on. How encouraging it is to discover that people of every temperament can lead virtuous, moral lives. If the saints can do it, so can we.
Saints are persons who are raised up by the Catholic Church as models, examples, and mentors for the rest of us. Learning about them and their responses to life’s joys and sorrows, hurdles and challenges, reveals life paths that are manageable, paths that we can follow in our own life journeys.
When the Catholic Church determines that a person should be considered for sainthood, a process is set in motion. The Church closely examines testimonies, writings, miracles, and other factors pointing to the person’s holiness before the title Saint is given to that person.
Like us, saints lived during periods in history, under specific circumstances, and they responded uniquely to life events according to their temperaments and characters. As Saint Paul tells us:
We are God’s work of art, created in Christ to live the
good life as from the beginning He had meant us to live
it. (Eph. 2:10)
To Live the Good Life
The saints teach us how to live the good life, and that lesson is about choices. Saints chose virtue and integrity over moral compromises, and if they slipped and fell, they got up. Being a saint is about continually growing in a relationship with God and saying yes to His inspirations even when we would prefer to say no. Life becomes a journey of trust—trust in God no matter what happens during that journey.
Unleashing Hope is the story of one woman and the choices she made: a woman who left her privileged life in the distinguished upper class to live and work among the poor and needy; a woman who freely chose a simple life dedicated to loving and serving the poor as a married woman, as a widow, and finally as a consecrated religious who suffered greatly during the religious persecution in Mexico.
People affectionately called her Mother Luisita and looked to her for encouragement and advice, especially during the extraordinary challenges of the Mexican Revolution and the subsequent Cristiada. Mother Luisita encountered one obstacle after another, yet her amazing resilience allowed her to remain peaceful amid the chaos she faced. She seemed to be anchored in strength beyond her own capacity and was an anchor of hope for all who came to
her, especially the poor and the downtrodden.
A shroud of discouragement blankets our world. People seem to have lost their sense of identity, purpose, and trust. It shows in their body language, in the words they speak and the choices they make.
Yet there is hope.
There is always hope. Always.
May this story of Mother Luisita’s life be a catalyst for unleashing hope in the hearts of all its readers.
Editor’s note: The above excerpt was adapted from Unleashing Hope: The Biography of Venerable Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, available now from Sophia Institute Press.