Superhero Saints: Prophecy, the Power to Predict the Future

Miracle Superpowers as Signs Pointing People to God

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Hopler, Whitney. "Superhero Saints: Prophecy, the Power to Predict the Future." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2016, thoughtco.com/prophecy-the-power-to-predict-future-3967593. Hopler, Whitney. (2016, March 3). Superhero Saints: Prophecy, the Power to Predict the Future. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/prophecy-the-power-to-predict-future-3967593 Hopler, Whitney. "Superhero Saints: Prophecy, the Power to Predict the Future." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/prophecy-the-power-to-predict-future-3967593 (accessed October 20, 2017).
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Superheroes can predict the future, and sometimes real people can, too! Some saints reportedly had the miracle power of prophecy (precognition). Betsie Van der Meer/Getty Images

Just about everyone wonders what will happen in the future. That common fantasy has led to the creation of many superhero characters with the power of precognition (also called premonition or prophecy). But that superpower isn’t just for pop culture superheroes. Through miracles, believers say, saints who had the power to predict the future in real life used that ability to point people to God. Here are some superhero saints who predicted the future:

Saint Bridget of Sweden

St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), a mother and widow who worked in the Swedish royal palace and later became a nun, reportedly began having visions of both the past and the future as a child with psychic gifts. She wrote about these clairvoyant events in her book Celestial Revelations, saying that Jesus Christ sometimes spoke to her directly during them. Bridget became an influential yet controversial figure as news spread about her visions and she wrote a famous collection of prayers, as well.

For many years, the king and queen of Sweden turned to Bridget for advice about the future when she lived in their court as the chief lady-in-waiting there. Later, Bridget founded the Bridgettine religious order and used her power to see into the future to help poor and sick people she was caring for – trying to inspire them with hope that God had good purposes for their lives, and a good future waiting for them in heaven if they trusted him.

Some Catholic Church leaders listened to Bridget’s guidance about how to enact reforms to clean up sin in the church, as well.

Bridget wasn’t popular with everyone, though. Some people thought she was crazy for claiming to have precognition powers, and others said that her revelations of the future were nothing more than daydreams.

When Bridget died, it was on the same day that she had predicted her death would occur.

Saint John Bosco

St. John Bosco (1815-1888) was an Italian priest and school teacher who often saw the future in his dreams. He wrote and spoke extensively about the wisdom he learned from his dreams, hoping to use them to teach his students and others spiritual lessons. Many of John's dreams about the future were so vivid that not only could he see what was going to happen, but he felt it with all of his senses as if he had experience it himself already.

In one dream, a former student of John's named Dominic Savio who had died in his teens appeared to John and talked with him about the future. John asked Dominic many specific questions about what was going to happen in the world and in the lives of people he knew. Dominic gave John information about both world events and students at John's school, including predicting the upcoming deaths of eight students. "You have many sorrows and difficulties ahead of you yet," Dominic said, but he also encouraged John that his work founding a religious order (the Salesians) would be worthwhile and end up helping many people in need throughout the world.

John got excited about his dreams, but whenever he told others about them, he was careful to caution that people needed help from God's Holy Spirit and God's messengers -- angels -- to correctly interpret dream messages.

Since God and angels often use symbols (like colors, shapes, and numbers) when communicating in dreams, John said it was important to pray for guidance about those details to figure out what they really mean.

Saint Colette

St. Colette (1381-1447) lived for many years isolated in a small space, yet experiencing large-scale visions of the future that she communicated to others. She was literally walled up within brick walls on the grounds of an abbey church in France after asking her sister nuns to build an enclosure for her to focus on praying and meditating without unnecessary distractions. Those who talked with her when they brought her food and water described her visions, which Colette said came to her through the Holy Spirit while she was deep in prayer or meditation.

Collette's visions showed future events both in the lives of people alive at that time, and at the end of the world, she reported.

The events in the more immediate future revealed that, because of sinful behavior in her religious order, many of God's goals for the order's work would not be accomplished. News of those visions led church leaders to enact reforms to make the order more effective.The events Collette prophesied about the world's end concerned details about the Bible's predictions of battles between good and evil at the end of the world.

By communicating with God often through prayer and meditation, Colette said, people can develop closer connections with God, who will reveal any information about the future that they need to know to grow spiritually.

Saint Columba

St. Columba (521-597) became known for his work as a scholar in Irish and Scottish monasteries. He also led monks who copied books (such as the famous Book of Kells) by hand before the printing press was invented, to pass along knowledge to future generations. Some of those books described predictions about the future.

Angels are God's messengers to humans, Columba said, so they will tell people whatever God wants them to know about their future. But too often, people miss out on such messages because they're not paying attention. Angels are constantly communicating, he said, but people sometimes aren't listening.

Columba encouraged people to get to know their guardian angels -- the angels who are closest to them -- and build friendships with those angels. Over time, Columba said, people can learn how to recognize guidance from their guardian angels, which may include some advice about the future.

Many of the prophecies that Columba attributed to messages from God, delivered by angels, were written down in a book called the Vita Columbae that was published by Saint Adomnan after he died. Columba's prophecies make up the entire first volume of the three-volume book.

Since Columba dedicated his life to learning and passing on wisdom, he was especially concerned about a prophecy he said he received about the future, in which "people will read and write a great deal, but charity and humility will be laughed to scorn, and the common people will believe in false ideas." He urged people to continue to focus on love above all else, since knowledge has no value if it's not applied with love.