All Saints Day 2021: The Saints of God
By Josephine Hicks
George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch ends with these lines: “the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived a faithfully hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”
On All Saint’s Day, we remember all of the saints–the unheralded and the famous. We recognize that the “saints of God are just folk like me,” as the hymn goes. Life is full of saints who are making the “growing good of the world” happen. The world is a much better place because of their work and witness, even if we have never heard of them.
The heart of Episcopal Relief & Development’s work is to walk with and equip our partners–saints one and all–who are transforming their own lives and the lives of their communities. They are often uncelebrated. Many live unassuming lives, sometimes in remote villages, beyond the end of the road. They faithfully and quietly devote themselves to making the world a better place for those around them.
Benedicta is one of those saints. Benedicta lives in rural Northern Ghana and serves as a Community Volunteer in Episcopal Relief & Development’s Moments That Matter® Early Childhood Development Program. She meets with families every month for two years, equipping them with the tools needed to improve economic stability, access to food, proper health care and sanitation. She also works with caregivers on ensuring a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for young children.
In this photo, Benedicta is guiding a discussion with Elizabeth, holding her seven-month-old baby Linda, and Linda’s uncle. The conversation on this day focused on how children need a safe environment for play, stimulation for brain development and care from the whole household. More urgently, Benedicta has helped the family get expert care for Linda, who was born blind. Benedicta worked with the national health service to get Linda to the right clinic for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Benedicta then followed up to make sure that Linda could get to her appointments. Linda and her family live in a remote rural community and travel an hour or more to visit doctors. Thanks to Benedicta, Linda has now had at least one surgery. Doctors are optimistic that her sight can be restored.
This All Saints Day, we celebrate Benedicta and all of the saints who are making the world a better place, one corner of the globe at a time. Who are the saints in your life and your community? Celebrate them today!
Josephine Hicks is Vice President for Episcopal Church Programs at Episcopal Relief & Development.