Not all saints wore a collar or a habit; many holy men and women grew in sanctity through their vocation to marriage and family life.
Whether you’re preparing for marriage, newlywed life, or celebrating your golden anniversary, these married saints will serve as examples of holiness and intercessors for you and your spouse.
Saints Joachim and Anne
While not much is known about Sts. Joachim and Anne one can assume their virtue from having immaculately conceived and raised the woman who would become the Mother of God.
Tradition holds that they suffered from infertility for many years before giving birth to the Blessed Mother. It is also believed that they consecrated their daughter to God at a young age since Mary remained a virgin all her life.
Although we lack primary sources to tell us about their lives, Joachim and Anne can serve as role models for all parents; we should seek to emulate their love of Our Lady and their devotion to God.
Saints Louis and Zelie Martin
Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin made Church history by becoming the first married couple canonized together.
Before they met, both Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin wanted to enter religious life; however, God soon made it clear that He had different plans for them.
Louis and Zelie lived the first year of their marriage as celibates, and later changed their minds at the advice of the spiritual director. The couple went on to have nine children, four of whom sadly died immaturely. After Zelie’s death, the remaining five daughters all went on to become Carmelite nuns.
This couple and their example of holiness not only influenced the lives of their children, but also the Church up until today, as their youngest daughter St. Therese of Lisieux went on to become one of the most-well known and beloved saints.
St. Monica’s parents arranged for her to marry a pagan Patricius who was infamous for his temper and promiscuousness. She suffered for many years in their marriage due to his infidelity and her argumentative mother-in-law.
Patricius often criticized Monica for her piety; however, her example and fervent prayers eventually softened the hearts of both Patricius and his mother, and they were both later baptized. Her perseverance also changed the heart of her wayward son Augustine who went on to become one of the greatest saints and philosophers within the Church. For this reason, she is considered the patron saint of wives and mothers, as well as difficult relationships.
St. Monica is clearly a powerful intercessor and you can ask for her prayers for any intention, but especially for your spouse and family with this novena.
St. Gianna, a pediatric physician and an avid skier/mountain climber, married Pietro Molla in 1955. As illustrated through their letters, they were a godly couple who encouraged one another in holiness. Together they had four children.
During her pregnancy with their fourth child, doctors discovered a tumor in Gianna’s uterus. She allowed for the doctors to remove the tumor, but declined the recommended hysterectomy that would have taken the life of her unborn daughter. Shortly after the birth, Gianna died of an infection caused by postoperative complications.
Gianna is known for her heroic “yes” to life and is considered a patroness of mothers and unborn children. Invite her to pray for your intentions with her novena.
Saint Thomas More
St. Thomas More was an English lawyer and statesman, as well as a philosopher, author, and scholar. He was also a devoted husband and father to his four children.
King Henry VIII trusted Thomas More with many responsibilities and eventually appointed him as Lord Chancellor. However, when Henry wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn, More would not support him. And when Henry began the Church of England, breaking ties with Rome, he stood strong in his faith.
For his conviction to the truth, Thomas More was martyred. As you live your married life in an age where Truth is often challenged, saints like Thomas More can help you remain rooted in God.
Saint Margaret of Scotland
St. Margaret of Scotland was the daughter of Princess Agatha of Hungary and the Anglo-Saxon Prince Edward Atheling, as well as the great niece of St. Edward the Confessor. Although not originally from Scotland, she and her family arrived after fleeing from William the Conqueror.
She captivated King Malcolm with her beauty and good graces and they were later married. She helped her husband become a virtuous ruler and he even consulted her affairs of the state. She worked for educational and religious reform within Scotland, performed many works of mercy among the poor, and lived a prayerful life as a wife, mother, and queen.
Despite her desire to become a religious sister, the parents of St. Rita of Cascia had already arranged for her to marry a cruel and violent man. When he was murdered 18 years later, she prayed her two sons who wanted to avenge their father would instead forgive his killer. Her prayer was answered and her sons, who died young, remained free from this mortal sin.
After the death of her husband and sons, St. Rita joined the Augustinians in Cascia where she lived the last forty years of her life in prayer. It was during this time that St. Rita received a partial stigmata–a wound on her head–that allowed her to more fully enter into the Passion of the Lord.
Saint Louis IX
Saint Louis IX reigned as the King of France in the 1200s. As monarch, he was known for his fairness and for his devotion to the Catholic faith. He had a very happy and holy marriage with his wife Margaret and together they had 11 children.
Louis led the Seventh Crusade in which he was captured by the Mohammedans but was released when a truce was declared. Years later he and three of his sons fought in the Eighth Crusade. He became the first (and only) French king canonized a saint.
The Blessed Mother and St. Joseph
Of course, no list of married saints would be complete without the mention of the holiest couple–Mary and St. Joseph.
Despite their personal perfection, they faced many difficulties during their marriage–an unexpected pregnancy, fleeing their homeland to protect their child, and the promise of immense sorrow for both Mary and their son.
Through every joy and challenge, Mary and Joseph relied totally on God’s grace and trusted their lives fully to the service of the Lord. Because of their “yes” –both as individuals and as a couple–Jesus could fulfill His salvific mission.