Several kinds of roles are represented by the characters in Saint Maybe. The most obvious role adults play in the children's lives is that of parent. First Danny and Lucy parent Agatha, Thomas, and Daphne, then Ian takes over parenting them as an atonement for his responsibility in Danny's death. Another role is that played by Rita, who expands their sense of community and family by seeing the admirable inner qualities in Danny that most other people overlook because these qualities are buried by his religiousness and his somber demeanor. Another role is played by Reverend Emmett of the Church of the Second Chance who counsels Ian that his atonement for his role in Danny's death will only come by stepping into Danny's and Lucy's shoes and raising the children in place of their parents. Without Reverend Emmett's indirect role in the children's lives through giving this counsel to Ian, the children would have had very different sorts of lives.