When I red Brother Walters message I thought we could all share our favorite saint here, with a short explanation why they are our favorite saint, just to keep the new forum going.
My greatest hero is St. Maximilian Kolbe, who also is my patron saint (In Finland we are confirmated under a saint's name, not our own - is this the custom in other countries?). In 1941, Father Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to a death camp. He offered to take the place of a married man condemned to death by starvation. In this he fulfilled the words of Christ: "Greater love than this has no man, that he give up his life for his friend."
St. Charbel is my favorite Saint because he lived a life that was hidden from public view and was one of complete and total surrender to God. He lived for many years secluded in an austere hermitage, praying and fasting for the salvation of souls. No one ever heard of him until there were many miraculous happenings surrounding his tomb. These included bright light emanating from the tomb. Also his holy body was completely incorrupt for about 60 years. The miracles that God worked through His servant Charbel have been spectacular, including raising people from the dead. He has been working miracles to this very day. One special miracle was his appearance in a modern photograph of a group standing near his tomb. When the photo was developed, the Saint was in the midst of the folks in the photo.
He was cheerful and always ready to help those in need when asked. He used to pray long into the night with a small oil lamp. One of the monks decided to play a trick on Father Charbel. This mischevious monk emptied all the oil from the lamp and replaced it with water. When the Saint lit the lamp it remained lit all night, despite the fact that it was water and not oil!
May we all experience the help of Saints Maximilian Kolbe (I am a member of the Militia of the Immaculate that he founded) and Charbel!
I am always terrible at this because I have so many favorites for different reasons. I can never narrow it down to one, so to be brief, I will list my 3 patrons and save the biographical information. Firstly, I love Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati. I love his unquestionable love for God and Church, his youthful energy and love of the poor. Secondly, Bl. Grimoaldo of the Purification, a splendid Passionist, who, I can honestly say, has NEVER disappointment me with my petitions. His love of Our Lady and Our Lord's passion simply amaze me. Lastly, St. Veronica Guiliani, another great mystic and stigmatist, who according to some, will be declared the next Doctor of the Church. I am happily the guardian of all three of the saints' relics. Perhaps you have heard of some or all, but I encourage learning a bit more about them and turning to them for their powerful intercession. St. Maximilian and St. Charbel are, too, absolutely wonderful Saints and it simply warms my soul to see God so alive and well in our lives here. God truly is glorfied in His Saints!
I too am a guardian of a second class relic of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati. I am also a guardian of a second class relic of St. Maximilian Kolbe. I have heard that there in fact are some first class relics of St. Maximilian (hair) even though his body was burnt in the consentration camp.
Dear Ben: When Saint Maximilian Kolbe returned to Poland from Japan he had grown quite a substantial beard. It was decided that the beard would be removed by the monastery barber, a Brother. After shaving the Saint the barber put the beard into a bag to keep. Saint Maximilian ordered the brother/barber to throw the hair into the oven. This was done. After the Saint left the barber shop, the brother/barber reached inside the oven and retreived the hair. Saint Maximilian had ordered the brother to throw the hair into the oven. He did not notice that the oven was not lit. The brother/barber simply did as he was told and then retrieved the unburnt hair. He then placed it in a pickel jar ] where, after the Saint's martyrdom, it was used for relics. I am the guardian of a strand of the hair of the Saint. It is in a beautiful reliquary with a lamp always burning before it. I am so very grateful to the brother/barber and his tenacity in recovering the few remaining relics of Saint Maximilian Kolbe!