Reliquaries of the Saints

We began the month of November celebrating All Saints' Day on November 1st and today, November 29th, we Franciscans celebrate the Feast of All Saints of the Franciscan Order. These two feasts are beautiful bookends to this month in which we pray for all of our beloved deceased, and commemorate those who have gone before us as witnesses to our faith, the holy men and women whose lives and actions have inspired us to live our lives as beloved daughters and sons of Christ.

Sisters at St. Anthony' s Chapel in Pittsburgh, PA
On All Saints Day, our sisters traveled to St. Anthony’s Chapel. The chapel houses 5,000 relics of saints! As we prayed in the chapel on All Saints' Day, it was so peaceful to pray in the midst of such a great cloud of witnesses. Looking out at the reliquaries of the saints, saints I have read stories about and prayed to, I found myself thinking about deceased relatives and loved ones who, God willing, are also saints in heaven, though not canonized by the church and not housed in a reliquary or in St. Anthony’s Chapel (or any other chapel or church for that matter). I thought of our hearts. Our hearts are reliquaries for such saints in heaven. And we are to make their lives known to others.

As we end this month and begin a new liturgical year, awaiting the coming of the Messiah, let us remember all those who have gone before us by proclaiming their lives as witnesses of faith, those saints both canonized and those we carry in our hearts.

-Mary Belz, postulant

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