Saints Come in Many Forms

By Clare fcJ, first published in the FCJ Sisters Blog

If we are alert to it we become aware that saints are constantly coming into our lives and making a difference to us. Three of those kinds of people died recently. This very day in England it is the funeral and burial of Sr Victoire, fcJ. Victoire was in her nineties. She was one of those larger than life characters who had a heart of gold. In her younger days she was a primary teacher and at one time she was the head of a school in a very poor area. Victoire had a great sense of humour and she had the capacity to make life so much better for others. We will all miss her.

Last week some of us went to the funeral of Fr Wiyono, a priest in our diocese. He was also the uncle of one of our sisters. The Mass was celebrated by the bishop and more than fifty priests. The congregation was formed of hundreds of people from all walks of life, a sign of how deeply loved and respected he was. Fr Wiyono really was a man of the people and had served as a priest for more than fifty years. He was an inspiration to all those who met him.

Earlier this month Norman Evans was buried in the North East of England. Norman had lived with multiple sclerosis from a young age; however he had never let it diminish his zest for life. A musician, Norman spent much of his life raising funds for charity. Norman collected money by playing the accordion on a street in Redcar. When he was no longer well enough to stay outside he was welcomed into a local supermarket where he continued his playing and fund raising. I got to know Norman in my local parish church. We had some great conversations when I walked beside his motorized wheelchair on the way home from Mass each morning. I remember once wishing him a good day. He replied “Every day is a good day for me.” I was so struck by his answer. I have tried to live by it. Norman was known and loved by thousands of people. He had a tune for everyone. Mine was ‘Amazing Grace’. He played it every time he saw me. Norman was one of life’s genuinely good people. It was a privilege to know him.

These three contemporary saints were greatly loved and are greatly missed. I am certain that there are saints all around us and in all of our lives. We just need to stop and look…