Hello there! Saintnook is a wellspring of inspiration for us and our visitors alike. Although we’re still small, there’s so much going on that we need to find ways to make it simple and accessible for everyone!
Here are 4 questions exploring more of the aspects of this community of the canonized.
What inspired the idea?
Saintnook was inspired during my drive home from work for a totally different website. I thought it might be interesting to start a series of articles where a selection of saints were showcased in Twitter-cards: an avatar, background image, brief description, and so on. I was intrigued by the idea of presenting the saints through a modern lens – a social network – which has become instantly familiar to many online.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized the potential for developing a social network for the saints. It would allow for more than just a biography and personal details. It could act as a hub for various information, connecting pinterest boards, playlists and directories for each saint.
More excitingly, I realized – as I tried to focus on driving – the saints could connect to each other, join interest groups, share updates, and perhaps even ‘chat’ with each other! This was too good to have never been done before.
I think I hit gold.
Within a week, I’d run off a fresh WordPress install, tested using a closed Buddypress system for managing the profiles, and voila, it actually worked. The next step was to invite a couple of friends to help out, and they have been utterly phenomenal in grabbing the ball and running with it.
It’s been almost 4 months now, and it has become an amazing platform for developing a host of original projects, which we can’t wait to get off the ground – when we have more manpower.
What are your hopes for the site?
Well, like anyone, I hope that it endures and is still popular ten years from now. :)
More practically, I hope that I can use it for my daughter in her Catechism lessons, and it will be the first place she thinks to go for information.
To enter the land of wishlists, here are a couple of hopes:
- Welcome more volunteers eager to get active in helping us develop this site.
- Develop a truly modern and beautiful app that displays the website through a neat interface so that more people can dive into the world of the saints and keep exploring.
- Start a monthly magazine called ‘SAINT’, featuring news-like articles about moments in the lives of the saints.
- Start a Saintnook Academy for developing ‘courses’ on the lives of the saints, so that parents, educators and catechists can more effectively teach children and students about the saints.
- Create a trading card game called Touchstone: The Saintnook Trading Card Game, also intended to gamify home and classroom activity.
- Create a saint-based kingdom-builder boardgame called Kingdom of God that uses the trading cards as key to setting up collaborative kingdoms.
- and more…
If anyone would like to jump in and help out with any of these, drop me a line and lets start talking! Saintnook is looking for writers, tech developers, and general all-round helpers!
What makes Saintnook unique?
We tried to explore this question in our article Introducing Saintnook: Transforming the Way We Learn About the Saints. We think it’s a bold title, but we also think the vision is even bolder.
There are plenty of sites and apps out there that perfectly and piously present the saints’ information. Saintnook tries to turn this on its head by presenting them as people, and bringing them to ‘life’ in the digital continent. To be able to explore saints not only by category, but by the friends they had, and the people they might have known from their time period, we think is a pretty phenomenal contribution to the new evangelization, and general fun!
We also work hard on improving things like Pinterest boards and video playlists. And what’s equally interesting, we’re pioneering elegant and responsive per-saint directories that bring together easy links to reference reading, crafts, and available videos. This has the potential to be truly phenomenal as it gets bigger, turning into a one-stop shop for researchers and interestees alike.
How to use the Site?
Learning about the lives of the saints has been a challenge for parents, teachers and catechists alike for generations. Saintnook is being carefully developed with them in mind.
The saints who touched me the most deeply have actually been the ones that I saw in movies, and the stories with illustrations. Now granted, I am an extremely visual person, and it’s only been in my later years that bare text has transfigured into wine for the soul. I think I can safely speak for many children also coming from the same place; beautiful visuals are the key to instilling inspiration.
By presenting the saints through a commonly-accepted, visual medium, fresh and immediate impressions are more easily possible. Assembling directories of things like crafts (where available!) and references makes your task just that much easier.
To use the site, we recommend start with the saints of the month; we feature them on our home page. Explore the materials we’ve aggregated for your interest and convenience, and check to see if they have any friends. Explore the groups that have been started to organize the saints. When we have more saints, more connections will be possible – which we find truly exciting.
Lastly, we have an Adopt-a-Saint program, where businesses and individuals can adopt their favorite saint and do 3 important things for them:
- Draft a short, factual bio that reflects the most important aspects of their life.
- Researching and submitting resources to us for their directory
- Sending us quotes, links or more to update their status.
You get to ‘become’ your favorite saint online, and help others come to know them more deeply! We will also include a link to your website or social profile on the saint’s page so that people know who to thank for adopting them.
And there you have it! Sound off below with your thoughts, comments, blanket praise and how much you wish you’d had this when you were a kid!
I know I did. :)
by Dominic de Souza
Dominic is the founder and chief designer of SaintNook. Married and blessed with a little girl, he hopes that SaintNook will still be cool when she grows up and wants to start learning about the lives of the saints. By day, he’s a mild-mannered graphic designer, and by
night 5:00am he’s inventing crazy ideas to share his love of faith, family and novel-writing. His author site is CatholicAuthor.us.