Bringing the saints alive
According to an article in the Catholic Transcript (newspaper of the Archdiocese of Hartford), EWTN has just filmed a series of “interviews” with 10 Catholic saints. The idea is interesting and if done well can give a human dimension to the saints. The 10 saints chosen are:
Augustine of Hippo, Gemma Galgani, Gregory the Great, Louis de Monfort, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, Robert Bellarmine, Catherine of Siena, Irenaeus of Lyons, Jean Vianney.
This gives 3 women and 7 men; 3 from the patristic period, 2 from the middle ages, 2 from the reformation, 1 18th century, 1 19th century and one 19th/20th century. Except for Augustine, all come from Italy, France or Spain.
What do I find wrong with this list? Several things bother me. First, one of these saints is so obscure that I had to look her up: St. Gemma Galgani, an Italian mystic from the early 20th century. There have been many mystics; why her?
Second, the list is heavily biased to South-western Europe. There are no doctors of the Eastern Church, no saints from northern Europe, no saints from the Americas, Africa or the East. (Augustine, culturally, was not African in the modern sense of the word.)
Third, with the exception of Irenaeus, there are no martyrs. Why no witnesses to the faith who gave everything: Edith Stein, Maxamilian Kolbe, Hans Jaggerstatter, Paul Miki, Thomas More?
Fourth, there are no missionaries: where are Francis Xavier, Cyril & Methodius, Patrick?
Fifth, there are no saints who gave everything in service to the poor: Don Bosco, Katherine Drexel, Damian the Leper, Peter Claver.
Would anyone care to justify this list? Who would you choose?