Yesterday, just in time for the Solemnity of All Saints, I returned to the monastery following my family visit. I drove for hours and hours across the Deep South along roads that flowed like a line of chant through cotton fields and woodlands, towns and cities. The towns formed a kind of litany along the way: Summerville, Bamberg, Denmark, Williston, Augusta, Madison, Atlanta, Bremen, Cedartown, Piedmont, Gadsden, Walnut Grove, Holly Pond, Cullman…
After a drive that felt endless, I pulled into the monastery parking lot just a few minutes before the Vigil of All Saints. Sister Dominica welcomed me as I entered, Sister Benita helped me carry my luggage up the final flight of stairs, and then I went straight to chapel. We chanted the Litany of the Saints, and as Sister Lynn Marie intoned the names of saint after saint, I thought about the litany of towns I had just driven through, places to live, of course, but also places in which to minister, to heal, to help, to love as Christ loved, to serve as the saints served.
We often think of saints as other-worldly, but they, too, lived and prayed and worked in towns and cities, on farms and in schools, in woodlands and in deserts. As we honor the saints today, let us follow their example, laboring within the vineyard of our own villages, towns, cities, and circumstances.
A Simple Litany for Everyday Saints in Everyday Places
O Holy Ones of Summerville, heal the sick.
Citizens of Denmark, clothe the poor.
Saints of Augusta, feed hungry ones.
Christians of Atlanta, support the weak.
Inhabitants of Bremen, free the bound.
People of Cedartown, touch deaf ears.
Holy Ones of Gadsden, heal blind eyes.
Saints of Cullman, be the love of God.
In all towns and cities, help the poor.
To the lonely and sorrowing, give comfort sure.
For the sick and dying, be the touch of Christ.
Among aliens and strangers, welcome all.
For peoples of the world, pray for peace.
In all times and places, serve the Lord.
With all creation, sing to the Lord.
Angels and archangels, pray for us.