Becoming a saint is a big deal. And this past month, seven new ones were officially canonized in the Catholic Church.
Being officially declared a saint, however, involves more than just being a really really good person and dying. The process is actually an arduous one, involving people scrutinizing the minutiae of your life post-mortem, as well as the performance of miracles that scientists must verify, while at the same time somehow winning the attention of a very busy Vatican to canonize you.
Yet, although official sainthood is granted to a very spiritually-elite few, that doesn’t mean unofficial sainthood (aka, going to heaven) isn’t less awesome. But even mastering non-famous holiness requires lots of help and some spiritual guidance. Depending on your own unique personality, spiritual guidance can look very different, person to person.
Many of you probably know all about your Myers-Briggs personality, a beloved and debated personality test that was created by mother-daughter duo Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. Well, what if we told you that the saints you gravitate toward might share some of your four letters? Perhaps they might help you see a new way to engage the strengths of your personality to become a better (even holier) person.
So without further ado:
INFJ: St. Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa
Determined, altruistic, insightful — as an INFJ, you might find yourself gravitating toward the freshly canonized St. Nazaria Ignacia March Mesa, who intuitively felt her calling toward God at the early age of 9. Maybe your family didn’t ground you for going to church like hers did (her 18 siblings were kind of annoyed by her extreme piety), but chances are you have a quiet decisiveness that runs deep. Like St. Nazaria, you’re inspiring and a natural leader — although you might not know it.
ENFJ: St. Oscar Romero
You’re a born leader. You have an intuitive protective streak — a lot like recently canonized St. Oscar Romero. Praised for his unwavering loyalty to his people and the downtrodden, he was a voice for the voiceless, fighting the violence with love, which ultimately cost him his life as he was shot down in the middle of Mass by a paid assassin. His prophetic words remain with us, still: “Those who surrender to the service of the poor through love of Christ will live like the grain of wheat that dies.…The harvest comes because of the grain that dies.”
INFP: St. Gemma Galgani
Open-minded, sensitive, compassionate, you’re an extremely intuitive person who will find a kindred spirit in the recently canonized St. Gemma Galgani, a peaceful saint of strong convictions who was deeply in tune with the mystical aspects of prayer, even receiving the stigmata at times. Although sometimes you feel misunderstood, you’re a natural when it comes to expressing yourself in other ways — as was St. Gemma Galgani, whose writings continue to inspire people around the globe.
ENFP: St. Francesco Spinelli
Friendly, communicative, and a keen observer of human nature, you’re a lot like the newly-canonized St. Francesco Spinelli. As a boy, St. Francesco would join his mother in visiting the impoverished in Milan and would use his creative and outgoing nature to entertain the kids by putting on puppet shows. As an adult, he became a priest and a teacher and threw himself into his work, running the seminary during the day and evening classes for the poor at night. Because he wasn’t busy enough, he tried to start a new order dedicated to the Eucharist, twice. The first time was a failure (he ran into humiliating financial difficulties); but, like many ENFPs, he wrangled his inner optimism and tried again, and the order of the Sisters Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament was approved in 1897 — which now has around 250 communities around the world.
INTP: St. Pope Paul VI
You’re analytical, intellectual, and an independent observer. Like St. Pope Paul VI, you might have a shy temperament, but you stand by your opinions and beliefs — although you always try to listen to the opposing side. Bullying people into your opinion isn’t on your agenda — you just want the truth and logic to speak for itself, as did St. Pope Paul VI when he courageously wrote the controversial, but thoroughly adroit (and, in retrospect, somewhat prophetic) Humanae Vitae in 1968. Described as “profoundly serene,” St. Pope Paul VI led the Church during a turbulent time of dissent and change, but he did so with his quietly unique perspective and sound intellect.
ENTP: St. Teresa of Avila
Charming, outspoken, and quick-witted, you may identify with St. Teresa of Ávila. Like any good ENTP, St. Teresa was a boisterous contrarian at a young age. As a teen she was really into boys, clothes, flirting, and rebelling — so much so that her father sent her to a convent, but she wasn’t exactly a good nun. Frequently distracted by flattery and the social life, it wasn’t until midlife where she slowly found herself challenged by God in some intense mental prayer (and some levitation). This connection transformed her and led her to start her own convent and lead all kinds of reforms. She believed that the best kind of prayer was the kind that led to action — and her fascinating writings on this later made her one of two women to be recognized as a “Doctor of the Church” for her ability to teach the faith.
INTJ: St. Thomas Aquinas
As an imaginative strategic thinker — rational and visionary — you might relate most to the medieval genius St. Thomas Aquinas. Described as a “witty child,” when he was sent to train with monks as a boy, he frequently asked a simple question: “What is God?” and his entire intellectual life was in pursuit of finding the answer. Enthralled by philosophy and theology, Aquinas was a prolific and acclaimed writer of his time (he wrote 60 books) and many of his writings have become the cornerstone of modern-day philosophy and even law.
ENTJ: St. Thomas More
Confident, strategic, and outspoken — like St. Thomas More, you’re a natural leader and a force to be reckoned with. Sometimes the appeal of living alone with your many thoughts as a monk might sound intriguing (it briefly did for More), but you’re probably more attracted to the life of leadership and action like he was. With a thriving career in politics during the early 16th century, a happy family, and an acclaimed book, Utopia, More’s life seemed idyllic. But as he got closer and closer to power (he became an advisor to the infamous King Henry VIII, whom he tutored as a boy), More found himself at a crossroads and followed his conscience, which led the erratic king to behead him. His last words: “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
ISFP: St. Nunzio Sulprizio
Caring, adaptable, harmonious, you’re a gentle soul, who might seek solace by praying to a like-minded individual: the recently-canonized St. Nunzio Sulprizio. His short life was marked by tragedy, poverty, and sickness. His father died when he was 3, his mother died when he was 6, and his grandmother died when he was 9 — leaving him alone with an abusive uncle, causing him to suffer from perpetual illness. Yet, he was able to deal with his anguish with remarkable grace and patience — constantly offering his pain to God. Although he died at the age of 19, his strength and simplicity is inspiring — and Pope Leo XIII proposed Sulprizio as the model for all workers.
ESFP: St. Philip Neri
You’re bold, charming, friendly, and have natural people skills, so you will find a similar attitude in St. Philip Neri, the “laughing saint” who never took himself too seriously and was always ready with an entertaining witticism or joke. A man of strong faith and conviction, Neri didn’t believe that piety meant that life was somber — just the opposite, actually. He was particularly known as a fantastic confessor as he had a knack of seeing through people’s pretenses yet could gracefully get through to them with his warmth and humor.
ISFJ: St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
As you’re especially passionate, sensitive, and harmonious, you might try looking toward St. Mother Teresa, the famous defender of the poor and needy. When she heard “the call within the call” to begin the Missionaries of Charity, she knew she was leaving her life of comfort behind, and she accepted that mission willingly. Her mission, in many ways, was simple and practical. She would help, in her words, “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to society and are shunned by everyone.”
ESFJ: St. Maria Katharina Kasper
You’re naturally responsible, loyal, warm and social — a lot like the recently canonized St. Maria Katharina Kasper. Known for her extroversion and strong moral character, Kasper wanted to enter the religious life at an early age, but like a dutiful daughter, waited as she cared for her aging mother. Once her mother passed, she went full-steam ahead and started attracting others in her work to care for children and those who were sick. Her efforts ignited the beginning of a new religious order: Poor Handmaidens of Jesus Christ.
ISTP: St. Vincent Romano
Optimistic, practical, handy, and creative — like the newly-canonized St. Vincent Romano — you’re the kind of person you want around in a crisis. A simple parish priest known for his frugality and love of orphans, he was nicknamed “the Worker Priest” because of his efforts in serving the poor as well as helping to rebuild Naples after the 1794 eruption of Mount Vesuvius (which also destroyed his church). His homilies were, like him, simple and straightforward. He was particularly interested in the writings of St. Alphonsus Liguori, a spiritual writer, composer, musician, poet, and artist (aka general creative) who greatly influenced his interior life.
ESTP: St. Joan of Arc
Bold, direct, rational — and frankly, kind of risk-prone — you’re a lot like the famous St. Joan of Arc, who heard voices giving her spiritual direction when she was a young teenager. While a simple peasant girl who excelled at taking care of her animals and sewing, she allowed the visions of saints to guide her, and she succeeded in political and military endeavors, leading the French army to victory over the English at Orleans. Wholly confident and trusting in God’s plan, Joan was able to give power back to her king, but was sent to trial for heresy, where she remained calm and collected. She was ultimately burned at the stake for a bogus cross-dressing law (the only thing they could find her guilty of), but was declared innocent 25 years later.
ISTJ: St. Michael the Archangel
You’re so dutiful, strong-willed, and protective that the best saint to describe you was never actually human — rather, he is of the more powerful angelic sort. Saint Michael the Archangel is the leader of the army of angels and as the defender of the Church itself, it’s apt that St. Michael is the patron saint of police — one of the more fitting personalities for an ISTJ.
ESTJ: St. Katharine Drexel
Like St. Katharine Drexel, you’re decisive, strong-willed, driven, and you have a strong sense of justice — and you’re probably often ahead of your time. Drexel was born to an extremely wealthy family, inheriting what in today’s dollars would be more than $130 million. She gave up her entire fortune, however, and joined the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburg so she could completely commit to financing a mission to improve the living conditions of American Indians and African Americans. Remember, this was about 100 years before the public was concerned about people from minority groups, making her an American pioneer in both philanthropy and racial injustice.