Did you know that there are American Orthodox saints? We already have quite a few that have been canonized by the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and I pray that this simple Eskimo woman of Alaska will be the next one. She died in 1979, and there is a push for the OCA to officially declare her a saint. Her name is Matushka (Mother) Olga Michael. Already hymns have been composed in celebration of her life – this is normal practice for any new saint, and very often hymns are composed as part of the process of promoting the canonization process. Icons also have been written. One typical example is shown here (click to enlarge it). You can hear my own reflections on her life and the significance of her life in this audio file:
Although she was American Eskimo and not Canadian, one of the best places to read about her is this Canadian Orthodox website. Among the hymns that are composed for any new saint is an Akathist. Here are excerpts from the beginning of the Akathist that has been composed for Blessed Olga Michael of Alaska. The full text can be read in the above website.
Kontakion 1 (Tone 4)
The God who makes the moving curtain of the northern lights made you as a living light, shining in the far north and lighting up the desolate with His great beauty. Beholding this radiance, we your children lift up our voices and sing : Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken !
You laboured in the far north as a new Tabitha, making clothes to shelter the poor from the cold and warming their souls with your love. We who endure the icy winds of this age also find shelter in your heavenly intercession and offer you these praises :
Rejoice, you that provided boots and parkas for the bodies of those in need !
Rejoice, you that still provide God’s grace for the souls of the afflicted !
Rejoice, strong consolation of peace for widows and orphans !
Rejoice, silent witness to the eternal Word !
Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken !