“To be a Saint is to be myself.”
Thomas Merton (not yet a Saint)
My favorite image of any Saint is a photograph I keep on my desk of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, taken in 1895, in a play dressed as St. Joan of Arc.
There’s a beautiful kind of symmetry to the picture. Thérèse, arguably the most popular French Saint of our era, is essentially playing “dress up” of the most popular French Saint of her own era.
It’s a rare picture of Thérèse outside of her traditional habit; and factors into her own origin story. But what I love most about it is just how different Joan and Thérèse turned out to be. One was a zealous military hero, the other was known for her
“Little Way,” doing small things with great love. Joan made her mark in combat, Thérèse in the convent.
It’s a common tradition in Catholic schools this week to have some kind of “All Saints Day” celebration wherein we allow students to dress up as their favorite Saints for the day, trading in Batman for Bartholomew, Aquaman for Aquinas. Another picture
in my productivity zone is one of my old 8th grade class, taken on All Saints Day, 2011. They’re all dressed up as Catholic Saints. Most of the boys are priests — wearing robes or clerics. The girls, for the most part, are dressed as religious women,
in an array of habits and head coverings of different colors.