I received a letter from a Jewish woman who asked:
Recently I have
been advised that there is a Saint Esther and a Saint Moses. As a
religious jew with friends of many denominations, I found this
intriguing as no one has every mentioned this to me. I would appreciate
if you could send me to sources where I might find out more of who
these individuals are.
We Catholics believe that all of the righteous Hebrews and Israelites
-- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King David, Isaias, etc. -- are in Heaven,
glorified, and so are definitely Saints. We believe that when Jesus
died, He "descended into Hell" (meaning Sheol, not the place of
damnation) and opened the gates to Heaven for all the Patriarchs and
Prophets and righeous faithful who lived before Moshiach came and who'd
faithfully anticipated His coming.
Now, the process of official "canonization" came to be over time, in
order to protect the integrity of the meaning of Sainthood and to
provide only good role models for the Christian faithful (the formally
canonized Saints are those the Church holds out to be models of virtue,
and people to emulate and learn from). To my knowledge, though, in the
Latin Church the great Patriarchs and Prophets haven't been formally
"canonized" though many, such as Elias, appear in the martyrology, and
the Machabees are honored on 1 August in the traditional Latin Mass.
Some of those who haven't been formally "canonized," might not have
regular Feast Days in the liturgical year, but it doesn't mean that
they are any less Saints. In fact, in our Litany of the Saints (which
we pray often, esp. during ordinations and at the Easter Vigil), we
invoke "All ye holy Patriarchs and Prophets" (see
http://www.fisheaters.com/litanysaints.html for the litany).
In the Eastern Catholic Churches (and in the Orthodox Churches), King
David and Elias have special Feast Days, and Esther is mentioned on the
second Sunday before Christmas.
I have found other formally canonized Saints with the names of "Moses"
or "Esther," but they are not the Moses and Esther of Tanach. Below are
some links to information about them:
In any case, we Catholics can pray to Tanach's Moses and Esther, and to
all the great faithful of Israel, and refer to them as "Saints." Of
course, we believe that you, a physical daughter of Israel, can pray to
them, too! So ask for their intercession, and pray that they intercede
with God to lead the world to all Truth -- Moses, especially, who
prefigures Christ: he's a mighty pray-er and intercessor for God's
people (Exodus 32 and Deuteronomy 9)!
I hope this helps answer your question some, friend... If you have any
more, I'd be more than happy to try to answer them for you (or at least
find the answer).
His blessings on you!
This page updated with additional information on
29 August 2005