Role Models for my Children
By Cathy Drumore
Stories of the saints have always held an incredible fascination for me. It is somehow incredibly reassuring to know that so many men and women in the last two millennia have struggled with the same issues as we do – often far worse – and have still ended up with Our Lord.
Our children enjoy the fact that they are named after someone who was a role model, and who will pray for them through their lives.
St Anastasia’s nobleman husband was quite cruel to her when he realised that she was Christian, but she did her best to assist those imprisoned for their faith before she was finally martyred by fire, at the age of 23.
Legend has it that when St Cecilia, the patron saint of music, married a young pagan, he and his brother were both converted to Christianity on her wedding day, and the three of them were martyred.
The Welsh St Guinevere (also known as Winifred or Jennifer) apparently survived having her head chopped off by a rejected suitor. The spot where it happened, St Winifred’s Well, has been the scene of miraculous cures for centuries.
St Beatrice, St Dominic and St Francis weren’t martyred, but all came from wealthy homes and chose to reject wealth in favour of establishing religious orders. St Beatrice, whose friend, Queen Isabel, resented her beauty and imprisoned her, was one of the many examples of how beauty and riches mean nothing when you’re not happy.
St Dominic was a great preacher and founded the Dominican order of preachers in Italy, Spain and France. While he was at University, there was a famine in Spain and he chose to sell a lot of his own personal items to give money for food to the hungry, despite being bagged out by fellow students. In our world, it can be easy to give when it doesn’t hurt.
St Francis of Assisi was renowned for his love for animals, and for his humility. He turned his back on his wealth to begin the Franciscan order, choosing to live like the poor, and his friendship with St Clare resulted in the founding of the Poor Clares order. I love St Francis’ emphasis on the importance of all creation, and how the friendship between Francis and Clare shows that there is more to relationships between men and women than romance.
St Harvey, despite being blind, became an abbot. He was assisted by a young boy who would lead him from place to place, showing how sometimes we have to be weak, and dependent upon others, in order to be strong.
St Edward the Confessor of England was possibly canonised as a political gesture, but he did try hard to be faithful to God in his public life, as well as in his private, He lived in an era in which, like our world nowadays, had a plot several times more complicated than Shakespeare’s.
The saints lived in times of turbulence and peace, morality and wickedness, calm and disaster. The deepest desires of the human soul have never really changed. After all, what we all really want is to be united with all of our loved ones into eternity