A year ago this morning, I walked in for my first day on the job at International Samaritan.  When I mention this fact to friends, old-school Catholics are quick to tell me, “Ahh, All Saints Day, that’s a good day to start your new job.”  For those of you who are not familiar with this tradition, “All Saints Day” goes back 1,400 years as a day set aside to remember the Saints of the church–those people who have made it to heaven.  I thought it might be a fitting moment to thank the saints in my life, those people who have brought a little bit of heaven here.

Let’s start with my mom.  She turned 80 last week and celebrated by parring the last hole in our annual golf fame to beat me by a stroke.  Not very saint-like behavior indeed.  But you will never find a woman who so quietly and consistently gives of herself every day to help others. 

The leaders of our work in each nation: Angelica, Erika, Selam, Tavian and Tim.  When I read about the Saints of old, I can’t help but think they would find kindred spirits with these five people.  They walk so lovingly with the families in their communities, helping to make sure that the most worthwhile young people get a legitimate shot at making it out through education–and then so fiercely guarding and encouraging them at every step along the way.

Fr. Frank Canfield, S.J., a true disciple of Christ and discipler for Christ to thousands of young men at U of D Jesuit High, St. John’s Jesuit, and St. Ignatius in Cleveland over the last fifty years.  A bum hip has him temporarily sidelined, but he still makes Mass every day, praying for many people on this email list. If you are one, please send him a card at Colombiere.

The seven families who have given so generously and anonymously to launch our scholarship program that will include seven hundred children in five nations next year.  Each and every one of these scholars is a walking miracle you helped to make possible. That’s like automatic qualification for sainthood right there.

Fr. Frank Canfield with my daughters, Julia and Grace, at Colombiere last summer.

My wife, who has a bigger heart for the lost and the hurting than anyone I’ve ever met–and I was one of those people 22 years ago.  Her love for Christ brought me back into the faith and continues to encourage and inspire me every day of our marriage since then.

Sheila Geary at Marian, Phil Skeldon at St. John’s, Colleen Summanen at Bishop Watterson and all of the campus ministers I have yet to meet who serve as virtual St. Christophers for the young people travelling from their schools each year and St. Josephs to the people with whom we work. 

Here at the office, Andrew and Mary, along with Dan, Emily, Hannah, Michelle, Sarah, who give so generously of their heart and talents to drive our mission.  They make every day a joy to serve and work here.

My cousin, Moose, also known as Captain Steve Walton, a 23-year-veteran of the Detroit Police Department.   Every time I moved homes or jobs in Detroit, Moose got assigned to the precinct where I was, first as a patrolman and ultimately as the captain of both the 6th precinct and the 11th.  It felt like God assigned him to me as my personal guardian angel, but I don’t think there’s a good all-angels holiday so I’m celebrating him here.

My point in sharing these people with you is that we all have saints around us.  Please take a moment to thank a saint or two in your life today.

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