Seven Radical Saints

Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century

Being a Christian is radical. The word radical comes from the Latin radicalis, meaning “of or relating to a root.” When Christ and his teachings are our foundation, we are on a radical path, a path people have struggled to walk for more than two thousand years.

Think about it: Is there anything more radical than loving God with your entire being and loving your neighbor as yourself? Society encourages us to worship money, status, prestige, and more. Putting God before any of that? Before our own spouses, parents, children, friends, all those people we love and would do anything for? And how about loving those who look different from us or who have betrayed us, injured us, or persecuted us simply because we’re told God loves them every bit as much as he loves us. Now that’s radical. —Melanie Rigney

Here are seven examples of radical faith.

Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century

St. Mary MacKillop
Born January 15, 1842, in Australia | Died August 8, 1909, in Australia
Canonized October 17, 2010 | Feast Day: August 8

Mary MacKillop was excommunicated for insubordination, and later she was told to move her congregation out of a diocese. Through it all, she showed a radical trust in God and the Church, even when some of its leaders were less than Christlike. Click here to read more.

Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century

St. Katharine Drexel
Born November 26, 1858, in the United States | Died March 3, 1955, in the United States
Canonized October 1, 2000 | Feast Day: March 3

St. Katharine Drexel was raised in a loving family that had plenty of money and philanthropic spirit. But when Katharine’s request for missionaries was answered by the suggestion that she become one herself, she discerned and gave a radical yes. Click here to read more.

Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century

St. Jacinta Marto
Born March 11, 1910, in Portugal | Died February 20, 1920, in Portugal
Canonized May 13, 2017 | Feast Day: February 20

Having seen a vision of hell, St. Jacinta offered up lunches, persecution by those who doubted the children of Fátima, and other penances to keep others from suffering. Click here to read more.

Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century

St. Josephine Bakhita
Born about 1869 in Sudan | Died February 8, 1947, in Italy
Canonized October 1, 2000 | Feast Day: February 8

Slave traders took away her name and her family. She was kidnapped, beaten, and scarred. And yet, when asked what she would say to her persecutors if she met them again, Josephine said she would thank them, because without them she would not have discovered her faith and her vocation. Click here to read more.

Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century

St. Marianne Cope
Born January 23, 1838, in Germany | Died August 9, 1918 in Hawaii (now the United States)
Canonized October 21, 2012 | Feast Day: January 23

When she was two, Maria Anna Barbara Koob (the name Cope was adopted later) moved with her family from Germany to Utica, New York. Utica’s population had exploded from about three thousand to nearly thirteen thousand in twenty years. Click here to read more.

Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
Born August 25, 1905, in Poland | Died October 5, 1938, in Poland
Canonized April 30, 2000 | Feast Day: October 5

It’s human nature to desire to be well liked and understood. Many of those around Faustina, including some of the women in her own community, saw her single-minded drive to bring the Lord’s Divine Mercy message to the world as egotistical and delusional. Click here to read more.

Radical Saints: 21 Women for the 21st Century

St. Teresa of Calcutta
Born August 26, 1910, in North Macedonia | Died September 5, 1997, in India
Canonized September 4, 2016 | Feast Day: September 5

Mother Teresa was a radical truth speaker—whether it was delivering an anti-abortion lecture as part of her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, telling the United Nations that holiness is not a luxury of the few, or replying, “Find your own Calcutta” to a high school student who wanted to know how to be like her. Click here to read more.

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