For the religious man or woman saints are people that are meant to be revered. We view them as larger than life figures that couldn’t possible have typical human frailties. At least this the perception that has traditionally been associated with saints. In our modern world even the most religious amongst us are a little more critical and it’s only in the past few decades that this type of attitude has led us to take a closer look at the lives most saints lived. It turns out most of them where normal people just like you and I with certain talents and many failings as well. In our opinion this only strengthens their appeal to the average devotee. When you find out that those you look up to have had similar paths through life as everyone else it can actually strengthen the bond you have with them. Here are 4 examples of the ordinary lives of saints.
Nicholas the Carpenter
Nicholas Owen was a devout Jesuit that had the misfortune of living in England during the period when the penal laws were in effect which made it very difficult to be a catholic. It wasn’t unusual for catholic priests to have to go into hiding on a moment’s notice to avoid persecution and that’s where Owen’s unique set of talents came in. He was born the son of a carpenter and while he wasn’t using 12-inch slide saws for home carpentry he was very good at building priest holes. These were secret compartments built in many manor houses to hide priests when the authorities came looking for him. He was credited with saving many lives with his carpentry skills.
St. Florian the Firefighter
In the third century of the Common Era the Roman Empire was still alive and well and St. Florian was a powerful figure in the Roman army in the area we now know as Austria and parts of Slovenia. He was also know for organizing and managing a unique unit in the Roman army that acted as one of the first known firefighting brigades in history. In a way St. Florian was one of the first fire chiefs in written history. Unfortunately for Florian his sympathy for Christians at the time would spell the end of a successful career. He lived in a time when Christians were being persecuted for their beliefs and he was eventually executed for trying to protect them.
Saint Fiacre of Breuil the Healer
Ireland has produced more than its fair share of saints over the years and one of them was Saint Fiacre of Breuil. He was one of the earliest saints in Ireland’s history in the Catholic Church and he was probably also one of the most devout. He quickly developed a reputation as a healer, which was probably closest thing they had to a doctor at the time. It turns out that that he was so successful at it that people would come to be healed by him from all over Ireland. He eventually left Ireland to live in peace and solitude in France.
Saint Benezet Building Bridges
The list of famous bridges is a long one and includes such famous landmarks as London Bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. These are amazing examples of modern ingenuity and engineering, but long before these bridges were built there was a fellow by the name of Saint Benezet that was renowned for his skills at bridge building. In the 12th century he was actually credited with founding a bridge building brotherhood and is another great example of a Catholic saint trying to live an ordinary life and make an honest living.