Growing up as a Protestant, the subject of the saints was almost entirely absent from my mind. Of course I was taught about the men and women of God in the Bible who are also saints, but that title of "Saint" was not used in my childhood religious education.
I could mention other saints, as well, that I have read, come to admire, and think of with devotion. Pope Benedict XVI has instructed us about having the saints as intimate friends:
"There are very dear people in the life of each one of us to whom we feel particularly close, some of whom are already in God's embrace, while others still share with us the journey through life: they are our parents, relatives and teachers; they are the people to whom we have done good or from whom we have received good; they are people on whom we know we can count."Yet, it is important also to have ‘traveling companions’ on the journey of our Christian life....I am also thinking of the Virgin Mary and the Saints. Everyone must have some Saint with whom he or she is on familiar terms, to feel close to with prayer and intercession but also to emulate. I would therefore like to ask you to become better acquainted with the Saints, starting with those you are called [named] after, by reading their life and their writings. You may rest assured that they will become good guides in order to love the Lord even more and will contribute effective help for your human and Christian development." (Pope Benedict, General Audience 8/25/10)
[For more on "traveling companions" on the Catholic Spiritual Journey read my reflections here]
As Catholics, along with the Orthodox Church, we have a glorious gift and heritage in the many saints we honor. They will pray for us and guide us with safe passage into the Kingdom of God, into the experience of his love!