January 19, 2013. (Romereports.com) Not too long ago, the only way to learn more about the physical appearance of saints was through paintings and sculptures. Their written biographies also depicted their lives, as well as theater productions, and, occasionally, films.
But as times change, so do the way we learn about some of the saints. We can see them in flesh, hear their voice and see them in their everyday lives. It's made possible thanks to the Internet. Among the millions of videos uploaded to YouTube, you will find a few depicting direclty 20th Century saints. Below are some examples:
This woman is Saint Gianna Beretta from Italy and the patron saint of pregnancy. She decided to postpone a surgery to save her baby's life while pregnant. She died in 1962, but before then, her husband recorded these images in which she appears with her other two children.
The devotion to Father Pius extends across the world. It is relatively easy to find his liturgical celebrations or his sermons on Youtube. Father Pius died in 1968.
Saint Alberto Hurtado is a Chilean priest that died in 1952. He was a writer and worked avidly with the poor and needy. There are also several images of him online.
Another saint you will find online is Saint Josemaria Escriva. He died in 1975, and during his last years his catechesis from Spain and Latin America ended up on video. Saint Josemaría is one of the few saints with his own YouTube account. It includes short videos of him talking about Christian doctrine. They also show off his strong personality.
While you won't find real images of other saint on YouTube, there are many devoted to blessed people such as John XXIII, John Paul II and Mother Theresa of Calcutta.
John Paul II is the perhaps the most well-known. On YouTube, you will find many of his speeches or moving moments that show what he was like, such as these images from the clown that made him laugh the most.
We can also find images of the first martyred person present on YouTube, Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko. He was killed in Poland during the Communist regime.
Moving forward, many future saints and blessed individuals will likely gain bigger traction online. It is already the case with two popes declared venerable, Pius XII and Paul VI, American archbishop Fulton Shen or Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, the succesor to Saint Josemaria.
The new technologies add a new dimension to the devotion of saints. From anywhere in the world, it becomes plausible to see them and learn what they're like. It's a new tool to aid the Church in the New Evangelization.