Counselor's Corner: The holy people in your life

 Fred Cavaiani

This past Saturday evening my wife and I attended a benefit dinner honoring a very loving and holy woman, Mary McKeon, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She has worked at Manresa Retreat House for a number of years and has positively influenced many people by her kindness, profound depth, and caring compassion. She is a most inspiring speaker and a very empathetic and motivating spiritual director. There were about 200 people in attendance at this gala event.

As I sat at dinner looking around the room, I became acutely aware of the Holy People in my life. A Holy Person, in my opinion, is a person who deeply cares about other people, treats everyone with focused interest and compassion and seems to have a personal depth and wisdom that can only come from a deep relationship with God. Mary McKeon is certainly one of these Holy People. As I looked at all the people in attendance I had a profound sense of appreciation of many other people in the room that had positively influenced my life and whom I consider to be Holy People. Sitting next to me was my wife, my companion and mentor of 41 years who certainly fits the definition of a Holy Person. Then sitting on my right was a priest friend of mine, Fr. Dan Crosby OFM Cap whom I have known since high school. He had been a model for me in high school, philosophy and theology by his compassionate and witty presence and wonderful depth. In this sacred gathering there were many other people that I have known over the years that positively influenced my life. I was filled with a profound sense of gratitude.

This event made me realize that I need to thank so many Holy People in my life because of their loving, positive influence on me. I need to thank many people for all they have done for me simply by being people of Wholeness and Spiritual Depth. 

Think of those women and men that have positively influenced your life. My hunch is that most, if not all of them, could be called Holy People. People who positively influence us seem to listen more attentively, care more compassionately and speak from a wisdom that comes from an open heart and mind. I could begin to write a book about my experience last Saturday evening when I observed all the people around me who had positively influenced my life. Sitting at the table with me were four people I knew who have inspired me. At the next table there were five people. At another table there were four more, and if I had walked around the room and looked at the faces I knew from other tables I would have found many more people. 

What a privilege it is to have experienced Holy People in our lives. And each of us has had these experiences. I am so powerfully aware at this very moment of the importance of appreciating all the Holy People I have met in my life. And the next most important thought is to thank them for their positive influence they have had in my life.

It becomes so easy to keep our gratitude to ourselves and not express appreciation and praise to other people. I do not want to live the rest of my life keeping my feelings of gratitude and praise for others hidden in my heart. The world is filled with men and women who come to a funeral with the regret that they had not told the deceased just how much they loved and appreciated their positive influence. 

Look at all the Holy People in your life. Some of these people live with you. Some you see often. Others you may see infrequently. Yet all these Holy People have something in common. They have inspired you and have made you a better person for having known them. Each of these Holy People have left you with positive feelings and validated you by their kind presence in your life. Thank them. Let them know how much you have treasured their presence in your life. Do it now and continue to express these feelings to all the Holy People in your life and to all the Holy People you will continue to meet. In doing this you will begin to appreciate what it means to be a Holy Person. And the holiness or wholeness of all these people will again positively influence you.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is