· Vatican City ·

The saints are not superhuman, nor are they born perfect. Before reaching the glory of heaven, they were people who lived normal lives, and as Francis said in 2013 at his first All Saints’ Day as pontiff, with their joys and sorrows, and their labors and hopes. So much for that, for this is especially true for the saints and blessed women of this papacy.

If it can be said the current Pontiff has a “policy” of female holiness, we find it in the full humanity of the women proposed for the altars, a sanctity of the one next door.

In the past, as is well known, in addition to being figures of devotion, the blessed and the saints were also instruments for strengthening the identity (and power) of communities and populations. Their virtues have been depicted through images and iconographic symbols that have not been chosen by chance. For example, the many depictions of lilies to illustrate morality and purity, the many red roses as a symbol of charity that can lead to martyrdom; and, swords to indicate a life at the service of faith.