A blog post I wrote a little while ago, "Europe and Me", got a surprising number of comments. I've been having a related (though rather more highbrow) discussion on the Irish Conservatives Forum with my friend Roger Buck. (The Forum is flourishing, by the way.)
Well, this post is not going to be highbrow-- it's going to be unabashedly subjective.
This subject has not only been on my mind because of those discussions, but because of the various books about saints that I've been reading, as research for my own saints book.
Some of my favourite saints are from the Romance countries; St. Bernadette, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Josemaria Escriva, and others. However, when it comes to flicking through a book of saints, for my own edification, I've noticed that I tend to favour the English-speaking saints, and the more recent saints. I prefer the saints that are closer to me, both culturally and temporally.
Recently, for instance, I've been very interested in the newly-Blessed Solanus Casey.
Furthermore, the continental saints that interest me tend to be rather "otherworldly". I find the fact that St. Bernadette spoke a minority dialect to be endearing. St. Gemma seemed (as many people who knew her said) to be a creature from another world. On the whole, I prefer such saints to be as little mixed up in the affairs of the world as possible.
(Not that this is unique to saints. Many years ago, I read the biography of William Wordsworth and the biography of Lord Byron in quick succession. Wordsworth had an uneventful life, while Byron...obviously didn't. Nevertheless, I found Wordsworth's biography much more interesting, perhaps because it had more thematic unity, less clutter. In fact, Byron's became very tedious.)