Polemics & Exchanges

On Communing With Saints

I must take strong issue with Michael McMahon's "The Communion of Saints" (Views, September), which cast aspersions on the biographies of Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Cecelia, and Saint Barbara. Such sentiments are best reserved to the Soviet-era Krokidil. Devotion to these saints has less to do with the unlikely nature of their biographies and more to do with their proved effectiveness. It is easier for the Masonic-oriented to rid the world of belief in God than of belief in the intercession of these saints whose effectiveness is legendary.

The Franj on crusade had years of hardship that led them to gravitate toward the saints they found most effective; Saint Barbara, Saint Margaret of Antioch, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria were constant favorites in the medieval version of the scientific method of trial and error. Whole regions devoted to the Fourteen Holy Helpers in German-speaking and Polish-speaking Central Europe were untouched by the Black Death of the 1370's and1380's.

May I suggest a litany to the Fourteen Holy Helpers after a Daily Rosary for 40 days before one determines which saints are "apocryphal"?

        —Richard N. Nicoktti
Bordentown, NJ

Mr. McMahon Replies:

I find it...

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