Why We Can’t Stop Loving Saints

We No Longer Sleep With Hallowed Bones, But Our Affection For Heavenly Intercessors Is Still Going Strong

Wildly famous. Frequently scandalous. Speakers of truth to power. Action heroes. Acclaimed by the people. Romantic, rebellious, charismatic, inspirational. These were just a few of the ways saints were described at a Zócalo/Getty panel that asked a group of scholars of art, history, and religion, “Why Do We Need Saints?”

Documentary filmmaker Jody Hassett Sanchez, the evening’s moderator, opened the discussion by asking the panel, “Were saints the celebrities of their day?”

Yes, said UC Riverside medieval art historian Conrad Rudolph. Not everyone wanted to be a saint, but many of the …