One of the most amazing stats from the pontificate of Pope John Paul II is the sheer number of people he elevated to the status of Blessed or Saint. He truly believed that because of our baptism we are all called to be saints. A common misconception in Protestant Evangelical circles is that Catholics pray to dead people. They believe, falsely, that we are huilty of the sin of necromancy. Saints are alive and are very active and real in our lives. My patron is St Michael, it happens to be my middle name and I call on him often. I also have a great devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux, St Andre Bessette, St Josemaria Escriva, St Elizabeth Seton, St Francis of Assisi, St Phillip Neri, St John Bosco, and St John Vianney. To me, they are friends.....they have taught me by how they followed Jesus and their prayers give me encouragement to keep on striving for holiness. Get to know them! They want to be your friends as well.
Consider the following saint. The excerpt which follows comes from a book by Matthew and Margaret Bunson entiyled John Paul II's book of saints. The saint's name is Rafqa Pietra Chobuq Ar-Rayes (1832-3/23/1914). "In 1853, Rafqa entered the Marianist sisters and was given the name Annisa in religion. She was born in the mountain village of Himlaya, Lebanon. She taught young girls in the congregation's schools from 1856-1871, but was drawn more and more to the contemplative life. In that year the Marianist congregation was dissolved, an event that allowed Rafqa to enter the Maronite order of St Anthony, and she became a member of the community of St Simeon. She was given the name Rafqa in her new community. On Rosary Sunday, 1885, Rafqa prayed to become a victim of divine live. Sge was struck blind that night and endured terrible pain in her right eye. That eye was eventually removed in an operation without an anesthetic. Rafqa had hemorrhages from her eye two or three times a week as a result, yet this suffering did not prevent her from performing all of her normal convent duties. She did the washing, baking, and weaving, and even memorized the Divine Office so that she could join her sister religious in choir services.
In 1897the Rafqa was assigned to the monastery of St Joseph of Gerbata. There, she suffered paralysis from disarticulation of her bones. Rafqa faced death eith a calm spirit if joyful surrender, saying, "I am not afraid, I have been waiting for my Lord for a long time."
Pope John Paul II beatified Rafqa on Nov 17, 1985, and canonized her on June 10, 2001, declaring: "By canonizing Blessed Rafqa, the Church sheds a very particular light on the mystery of love given and received for the glory of God and the salvation of the world. This nun of the Lebanese Maronite order desired to love and to give her life for her people. In the sufferings which never left her for Twenty-nine years of her life, St Rafqa always showed a passionate and generous love for the salvation of her brothers, drawing from her union with Christ, who died on the cross,