The Salinas and Saldaña Family

Saints and Royals in the Family

Los Santos en mi familia

By

Maria Irma Salinas Saldaña

 


Growing up Catholic I have always prayed for a Saint’s intercession for my needs.  There was one I could rely on for every crisis. If I lost something, I could count on St. Anthony (San Antonio), the patron of lost objects. If one of my pets had a crisis, there was St. Francis (San Francisco), well known by Catholics and non-Catholics for his love of animals. St. Teresa (Santa Teresita), the Little Flower was the patron of my childhood.  I could count on her to intercede on my behalf with the little trials of my life. Growing up on a ranch during the dry season, I often heard my paternal grandmother invoke the aid of San Isidro, the farmer/ Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. She prayed for rain for the farm crops.

 

Saints have long been revered among Hispanics, not worshiped as some mistakenly believe, just given their special place on account of their closeness to God.  Indeed there is at least one saint for every day of the year, and among Hispanics, many of us have the tradition of giving two names to our children, one for a family member and the other for the saint whose feast we celebrate on the day of our birth.  A version of the beautiful Mexican birthday song says, Hoy que es dia de tu santo, te la cantamos así. Today, on your saint’s day, we sing to you like this.  It is not, “today, your birthday, but today your saint’s day that we commemorate, and that is a great tribute that we mexicanos extend to our saints.

 

So imagine the great surprise and excitement to find that there are at least three saints in my family tree! To make matters even more interesting, I found royals as well.  I became acutely aware of one important teaching in Judeo-Christianity, and that God intended for all of us to be saints.  We are meant to lead holy lives.  Those members of our family tree, and we all have them, who have in the past led extraordinarily holy lives have been deemed saints. Therefore, they are noteworthy, not only for their place as our ancestors but also to remind us of our real purpose on this earth.  So today i pray for the intercession of my ancestor saints to guide us to lead holy lives on earth to get to heaven.