There are those saints we have never heard of, those we know exist yet know little about, those we are drawn to (whether by their example or for their intercession), and then there are those to whom we respond on a much deeper level. Many of the saints who appeal to me come from the era of the Reformation.
I grew up in the northwest of England, part of the world thick with stories of the persecution of Catholics, priest holes, recusants (a word meaning refusal to attend Anglican services), and ancient Catholic families. I remember visiting old houses like Townley Hall in Burnley and Salmesbury Hall near Preston and being fascinated by the rich histories of these places, going back to medieval times. Both are big houses of the type often seen in period dramas involving aristocratic English families. For much of their history, the aristocratic families were Catholic, and that identity was woven into the fabric of the buildings. Not only in the chapels where mass would be held but (as we will see) in the structure of the walls themselves.