On November 1st, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints. In 2013, his first All Saints’ Day as pope, Pope Francis stressed that the saints the Church honors have no relation to the comic book superheroes that Hollywood seeks to dazzle us with. “The saints are friends of God,” Pope Francis said. But they “are not superheroes, nor were they born perfect. They are like us, each one of us.” What makes them stand out, he added, is once they encountered Jesus they always followed him. Followed him, to be sure, in an extraordinary way, by living lives marked by what the Church calls “heroic virtue.” An easy – and free – way to learn more about these heroes is to pay a visit to FORMED.
To start with, go to the link for FORMED on the St. Agnes website and search for “saints.” This results in a holy windfall, 269 hits, enough material to carry you through to next All Saints’ Day. FORMED helpfully divides the windfall into four categories: study; read; watch; and listen. Twenty-eight of the hits are categorized as study. These are in-depth programs, presented by Catholic scholars, that explain Church teaching about the saints. Do you know the four basic dogmas the Church teaches about Mary? Find out in the FORMED study program Mary and the Saints. In the read category FORMED offers 63 books by or about the saints and the saintly, including, to name just one, St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life. Next, in the watch category, you can select from 87 video offerings on various saints and those who may some day be declared a saint, such as Father Emil Kapaun, a Korean war chaplain who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and whose for canonization is being considered by the Vatican. His courageous story is told in The Miracle of Father Kapaun. Finally, there’s the listen category, the largest of all with 91 audio programs relating to the saints. A great one to start off with is Brother Francis: The Barefoot Saint of Assisi. Take it from FORMED: “If you think you know Francis of Assisi, you’re in for a surprise.”