Thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas today, and Becket, and many of the great leaders of our Church who have been canonized, it dawned on me how hard it is for a family, a community, and a society to help create a saint.
A person becomes a saint within a context, and not in a vacuum. We know that some saints, including Aquinas, became holy against the wishes of their parents. St. Damien of Molokai did not have the support of his parents, either. Saints born and growing in adversity may be called to live in adversity, hence, the training from youth.
Some saints are nurtured in the home to become holy, such as St. Therese the Little Flower, and St. Etheldreda, who seems to have so many saints in the family one loses track of the names. SS. Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa were brothers, and another brother, Peter, as well as the mother, Emilia, the grandmother Macrina, the sister Macrina, and the sister Theosebia are all saints. We honor SS. Augustine and Monica, as well as SS. Bernard of Clairvaux, his holy mother Blessed Aleth, his brothers Blesseds.
My epiphany today involves the fact that saints are not made without tender loving care or great fighting within a family. The nature of the saint is not to be mediocre, but strong and independent of the world. A saint becomes so either in adversity or in the great nurturing of a holy family, a theme about which I have written on this blog before, especially in the home schooling series and virtue series.
But, this light on the nurturing of saints reveals that those born in adversity to holiness or to expectations which are not "holy", still need nurturing, such as in a religious order, or a good convent or excellent seminary.
This is the problem. The Catholic Church is lacking in holy institutions. Holy institutions are made when holy men and women create or carry on the original vision of holiness, such as that of SS. Benedict, Stephen Harding, Dominic, or God Himself, as in the vocation to marriage.
I shall continue this later.