When I was little, it was the habit, and the way the saints were usually depicted in art - in an attitude of devotion - which not only attracted me to the religious life, but to devotion. I wanted to know everything about the saints and to be like them. For those of us who have come to understand that we never had a vocation to religious life, or were unable to enter due to some impediment, I'm convinced that initial inspiration was our call to a deeper life of prayer and devotion, as well as good works, in the lay state. I like to imagine that the saints who most attracted us, became our special companions, patrons and mentors, along with our Guardian Angel, to help us to remain faithful and to become holy.
Art: Detail of painting of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, whose feast day is today. This view of the saint's habit and rosary reminded me of what attracted me to the religious life, as well as the recitation of the rosary, when I was little. Oh, to be truly little again.