Last week we asked you to send in the names of Catholics you think have had the most positive influence on the spiritual lives of Catholics in the past 50 or hundred years or so. We had a thousand submissions and dozens and dozens of names — close to a hundred, in fact.
So we combed through all of them, keeping close tally, and here is the final list of the top 20 from your submissions you now go to vote on. All you have to do is click on the link and vote for the single person you feel has had the greatest impact for good on the spiritual lives of Catholics, like we said, in the past 50 to 100 years.
So here, in no particular order are those on the list:
- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who spent most of her life working with and caring for the destitute in India.
- Saint Faustina, the visionary to whom Our Blessed Lord appeared in Poland and revealed the treasure of the Divine Mercy.
- Saint Maximilian Kolbe, who gave up his life in exchange for a fellow prisoner in Auschwitz.
- Mother Angelica, the feisty religious sister who began EWTN and set the tone for media-minded Catholics to hold bishops accountable while catechizing bombastically.
- Saint Padre Pio, the mystic who suffered for 50 years and experienced intense spiritual combat on behalf of souls.
- Pope St. Pius X, the first of the pontiffs to face the heresy of Modernism head on and prophetically warn the world’s bishops of its dangers.
- Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who travels the world to fight the errors of modernism and restore a proper understanding of the Eucharist.
- Venerable Pope Pius XII, who has been maligned despite his efforts to save hundreds of thousands of Jews from Nazi extermination.
- Venerable Abp. Fulton Sheen, who used his charisma and intelligence in television in the 1950s to showcase Catholicism to the United States.
- Cardinal Robert Sarah, who has fought ferociously from his curial post in Rome to defend orthodoxy against the onslaught of Modernism.
- Saint Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, who dedicated his life to advancing the idea of sanctifying the world through the presence of committed laity.
- Pope St. John Paul II, who brought the majesty of Catholic truth to a worldwide audience through the media during his nearly 30-year reign.
- Pope Benedict XVI, the right hand man of Pope John Paul for 25 years, who served as watchdog of the Faith, and as Pope restored the wider use of the Traditional Latin Mass.
- Father John Corapi, whose preaching style and orthodox message resonated with hundreds of thousands of Catholics in the earlier days on EWTN.
- Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, whose heroic and tireless efforts at battling dissent have brought international praise and admiration.
- Servant of God Fr. John Hardon, who dedicated his life to catechetical instruction in his Marian Catechist Program and dozens of books.
- G.K. Chesterton, the author whose wit and simple explanations of theological truths and social/cultural trends brought many converts to the Catholic faith.
- Cardinal Francis Arinze, the most prominent African prelate in living memory who strenuously defends the liturgy and fights against liturgical abuses.
- Dr. Scott Hahn, the notable Presbyterian convert and current scholar, whose personal story became a springboard for many protestants to convert to Catholicism.
- And the von Hildebrands — Dietrich and Alice — who dedicated their lives to teaching and instructing thousands of people through education and writing.
So there you have it — twenty of the most notable Catholics of the last hundred years selected by you to now be voted on.
We would be remiss if we didn’t say some wonderful Catholic examples didn’t crack the top vote-getters, but do deserve honorable mention: San Francsico archbishop Salvatore Cordileone; Fr. Patrick Peyton, the Rosary Crusade priest; Capuchin Friar Ven. Solanus Casey from right here in Detroit; Bd. Pope Paul VI, who suffered greatly but preserved Church teaching in the face of tremendous opposition; Pope Leo XIII, who confronted the evil of socialism, and so on.
We Catholics are spoiled for choice when it comes to those giants whose shoulders we stand on. And spoiled for choice we are in this poll.
Who do you think is the single most notable Catholic on that list of 20, who you think has had the greatest impact for good on the Faith? Vote for just one (and we know, it is very tough).
Vote for one, and in Friday’s “Vortex,” we will bring you final results. Pass this “Vortex” to your friends and family and tell them to vote. Who do you think is the single most significant Catholic on this list, your list? And remember — you can only vote for one. We’ll keep voting open until noon EST on Thursday, and we’ll have the results for you on Friday.
It’s good to reflect and discuss and think about these kinds of things. Too often we have horrible examples in the Church of scandalous leaders and dissidents. Pondering over a list like this reminds us that Our Blessed Lord is always raising up saints and wonderful examples to inspire and help us lead holy lives.
Also for some quick reminders about upcoming events at ChurchMilitant.com, we’re hosting our fourth annual Retreat at Sea coming up on April 2, leaving from Los Angeles, California, and I’ll be doing a conference Saturday March 12 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Blessed be GOD. Now get thinking and voting.
EDITORS NOTE: Originally published at ChurchMilitant.com. Watch “The Download” Every Week, Monday-Friday. Click here for Church Militant Premium—Start your 15-day Free Trial.