Alicia Davis Porterfield: Unsuspecting Saints

In the past four months of Ordinary Time, our blog has focused on Ordinary Saints, those everyday people in our cloud of witnesses who have imprinted our souls.

Hebrews 12 photo

We met an aging rock star whose unique voice and perseverance has captivated and inspired a ministry-mom for years.

We met several grandparent saints who spoke blessing throughout our lives and church sisters and brothers who helped raise our children over the years.

We learned of unexpected friends, older and younger, who showed up on our paths and surprised us with blessing.

We met a prophet-preacher named Prathia Hall, who led and proclaimed and helped forge the path many of us walk today.

We encountered an imagined saint, an unmet great-grandmother whose keepsakes revealed a passion for biblical and theological study.

We met an Army chaplain sister who guarded a nursing chaplain while she pumped in the back of a Humvee.

We were introduced to a Somali saint who welcomed in her sisters with food and grace.

We met a mothering saint who helped raise dozens of children and blessed their families through her call as an in-home caregiver.

None of these ordinary saints thought of themselves as anything special. Most of them had little idea of the huge impact they made on those around them.

These saints simply lived into their call, daily and authentically. They weren’t perfect. They weren’t famous. They weren’t hyper-spiritual.

They lived lives that make room for the other. They listened. They spoke blessing. They challenged with great love. They believed in us.

The arc of their lives draws us towards God.

What a gift it has been to give thanks for these Ordinary Saints week after week. What a gift  to look right next door,  into our own histories and family trees, into our own story as a people of faith . . .  and find such amazing, faithful, ordinary saints.

May we live in such an open-hearted way that we become, more and more, ordinary saints to our neighbors, families and faith communities, as well. Amen and Amen.

Looking forward: October is Pregnancy Loss Awareness month. We will honor this focus with a series of posts on infertility and pregnancy loss, a painful reality in our communities of faith and our own lives as ministers.

Too often these losses are surrounded by silence or unhelpful attempts at care. In sharing our stories and experiences around infertility and pregnancy loss, we hope to share authentically and strengthen support for families and communities dealing with these struggles.

Contact Alicia Porterfield at to learn more.


Alicia Davis Porterfield is a writer, minster and mother living in Wilmington, NC. She is the editor of A Divine Duet: Ministry and Motherhood ( and moderator of this blog.

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