In our Faith tradition, we are blessed by images of the saints who have gone before us.
Often saints are pictured in stained glass or sacred art with idealized proportions and golden halos. Their portraits alongside their often ancient stories of heroic virtue can make saintliness seem unattainable to those of us who remain in the Church Militant.
My husband and I are committed to making the lives of the saints come alive in our home; we want our children to know that they are saints-in-the-making!
The members of the Church Triumphant are a part of the Body of Christ, our family, and as a reminder of this beautiful truth, we created in our main foyer a family portrait gallery including black-and-white photographs of saints from the modern era.
We also included color photographs of our family in the display. In our row of immediate family members is a black-and-white photograph of the infant son we lost in 2008. He, too, is among the saints in heaven! Unifying the display is a large image of the crucifix of San Damiano.
We chose a variety of canonized, beatified, and venerable men and women. Priests, religious, single persons, a married couple, missionaries, converts, and even children are represented.
On the feast days of these saints, we light a candle in front of the saintly family member’s photograph and gather for family prayer in the foyer. Our greatest prayer in this space is of course on the Feast of All Saints when we light all of the candles and sing the Litany of Saints together, invoking the intercession of our family in heaven.
When we first created the gallery, some of our beloved saints were recognized as Venerable, but have since been Beatified or Canonized. This a great cause for celebration and a wonderful teaching moment for our family!
There are many ways to create a display like this.
We prefer minimalistic and modern design, especially if it’s economical. We used inexpensive shelves and brackets and plastic 5”x7” frames. My innovative husband screwed the frames into the shelves so they’re always straight and secure! All of the images chosen are public domain on the internet.
There have been countless fruits from meditating and relating to the lives of the saints in our home.
We’ve had grace-filled conversations with family, friends, and strangers in our foyer and we believe there’s no mistaking our family mission to become saints. Our three oldest children have chosen saints of the modern era for their Confirmation patrons. They’ve embraced the truth that men, women, and children, some of whom have lived within their very lifetimes, have become canonized saints! Holiness and virtue are attainable for all of us!