All Saints Day: Not Just A Day Off


The inspiration that we gain as a university community from the lives and divinity of the saints is something that cannot be measured and has deepened my care for others and my love of God. The Feast of All Saints Day is celebrated in the Church annually on Nov. 1 and not only is it a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics, but St. John’s University celebrates this day by closing our campuses to honor the women and men the Church calls Her own. Just like the saints have shaped me they too have shaped St. John’s and the numerous people that have been blessed to be connected with our University.

So many of us, myself included, forget the significance of the saints and their gifts. Many of the buildings here on campus are named in honor of the saints. These names may slip through our heads as just mere names to identify landmarks, but they should be seen as much more than that. They should serve as an inspiration to us, to do good and to live the mission that is St. John’s, to serve others, and develop a love of God. When I turn to the saints for guidance, I find myself strengthened by their inspiration, and feel so fortunate to belong to a University that supports the greater good for all, just like the countless saints have.

One of my favorite parts of St. John’s is that we are under the unceasing spiritual care of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Fathers), they truly represent how to model the lives of the saints to others. They welcome those of all faiths and guide them to love others and to gain inspiration from the lives of the saints. The inspiration of St. Vincent de Paul (founder of the Vincentians) is something we have all been exposed to here at SJU. Vincent’s life should serve for us all, as a force for good not just here at SJU but in our lives. Vincent said, “charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity.” When we live by Vincent’s words we find that charity is not a rule or principle, but merely second nature.

All Saints Day should be a day when we reflect upon the lives of the great saints, not only thinking about them but striving to live our lives like them. The teaching of the Communion of Saints is a very important one in the Church but is in no way limited to Catholics. I have no doubt that all the students here at SJU can gain something from the teachings and lives of the saints, and the devotion to our saints is a key part of the education here at St. John’s. It is my fervent hope that St. John the Baptist, St. Vincent de Paul and all the saints be a guiding force for you this All Saints Day and always.