Keeping a calendar of the saints

Anniversaries are funny things.

This week marks the anniversary of the birth of my grandfather (who died five years ago), the third anniversary of the death of my cat, and the anniversary of my ordination as a priest.

Anniversaries are funny because we all know that calendars and the ways we measure time developed differently in different places, and that in some ways these things are fairly arbitrary. (Our siblings in east Asia are celebrating the New Year this week, where we who use the Gregorian calendar celebrated the New Year two weeks ago and our friends who celebrate the Persian New Year do so on March 20.)

Yet there is some power in marking anniversaries. Somehow, events that happened in the past seem more present to us when their anniversaries roll around in the calendars we use. Anniversaries become times of reflection on the past, on people who have touched our lives, on the ways events have shaped who we are.

Although I’m a life-long Anglican, it was only during my time in theological college that I was introduced to keeping the calendar of saints’ days and holy days beyond those kept on Sunday mornings, Christmas Eve, and Holy Week. I started to learn about the lives of saints whose names I only knew as names of churches – a friend was a member at St. Athanasius, Orillia! – and learned how such diverse people had lived faithful lives throughout Christian history. The anniversaries (of their death, birth, or some other event in their lives) that became their feast days in the calendar served to remind all of us who have come after of the ways God can move in our lives, as well.

If keeping the calendar of saints isn’t a practice you have followed in the past, I commend it to you. Just as marking the anniversary of a loved one’s passing or a wedding, it is an occasion to remember, to reflect, and to rejoice in all that has shaped who we are and who God is calling us to be.


Heather McCance, Director of Pastoral Studies and Field Education

This message was written by Heather McCance for this week’s Wingèd Ox, a weekly news digest distributed to the college community.