“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” There have been saints in the past and there are saints today. We say of someone “she’s a living saint” or “he’s going straight up to heaven.” The story of a saint is always a story about a God who loves us and a man or woman who tries to respond to God’s love. Not that their lives are always easy; often they can be quite difficult. As one of them once said to me: “I just thank God everyday for letting me get my big toe wet in an ocean of misery.”

We recognize “saints” because in their presence we suddenly feel refreshed by God’s Spirit. No one can hide that kind of love. The late poet, Anne Sexton, says in one of her poems: “Love and a cough cannot be concealed./Even a small cough./Even a small love.”

—Fr. Paul Harman, S.J. is a Jesuit of the USA Northeast Province. He has worked in Jesuit formation and over many years has been a valued administrator at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA.