Temperament & Saints

In this talk, Michele Cardamone talked about 4 temperament types and examples of Saints for each.  

  • Background —Understanding temperament can be enormously helpful in daily life as we not only gain self awareness of our own strengths and weakness, but we begin to understand and appreciate others more.  Throughout history, there have been many attempts to explain why people are different.  Since then, many saints, popes, and spiritual writers have used the ancient Greek terminology to describe people.  Each of us is born with our God-given temperament and most people have both a prominent temperament type and a secondary type. 
  • Choleric — These people tend to be a leader, results-driven, energetic, intelligent, strong-willed, and extraverted.  Examples of Choleric Saints include St. Paul, St. James, St. Jerome, St. Ignatius Loyola, and St. Francis de Sales.  Perhaps the most well-known modern Catholic is Mother Angelica.  A choleric may struggle with anger, pride, and impatience and need God’s grace to cultivate gentleness, humility, docility, compassion, and patience. 
  • Sanguine — These people tend to be spontaneous, entertaining, energetic, inspiring, and they love people.  Examples of Sanguine Saints include St. Peter, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Rose of Lima, St. Francis, and St. Augustine.  A sanguine may struggle with lack of perseverance lust, self control, superficiality, and knowing when to stop talking.  They may need God’s grace to cultivate perseverance, purity, interior depth and strength, and to be a good listener.
  • Phlegmatic — These people tend to be dependable, peaceful, patient, balance, and often a leader.  Examples of Phlegmatic Saints and biblical characters include Abraham, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John XXIII.  A phlegmatic may struggle with laziness, the inability to confront or take initiative, and doing the wrong thing to please others and need God’s grace to cultivate fortitude, holy ambition, and strength of will.
  • Melancholic — These people tend to be thoughtful, analytical, artistic, peaceful and a good friend.  Examples of Melancholic Saints and biblical characters include Moses, St. John the Beloved, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, and St. Teresa of Lisieux. A melancholic may struggle with being critical, moody, and despondent and need God’s grace to cultivate joyful acceptance, selflessness, and hope.
  • Summary — Jesus Christ is the Only One who has a perfect combination of all of the temperaments.  Each temperament is a blessing. It takes all kinds to work together for good. For each temperament to be a blessing God wanted us to be, we need increased awareness of our vices & a willingness to be refined. Michele highlighted books that are most edifying for each temperament and which are available in the TASTE library.  Finally, she recommended Art and Laraine’s 3 books on Temperaments.  

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