One of our greatest treasures as Catholic Christians is the Communion of Saints.
We often tend to think of the Saints as a very holy and very un-relatable collection of martyrs, nuns, priests, and popes. But did you know that many husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, are also numbered among the canonized?
If you’re looking for holy role models who are also empathetic to your state in life, here are five of my very favorite mama Saints (in addition to Our Lady, of course!). They’re not only virtuous, but also beautiful, inspiring, and down-to-earth — and they’re just waiting to befriend you.
I’ve just in the past year begun a devotion to St. Anne, the grandmother of Our Lord, especially as I’ve realized how very relatable she is to stay-at-home moms. She spent her life quietly raising Our Lady, educating her at home (as tradition has it) and working to care for her house and family.
As far as we know, she didn’t have any fame or following — probably most of what she did was unknown to anyone but God and her husband — but she was so faithful in her hidden life (much like her daughter would be at Nazareth). I need more of her humble spirit.
Ask her intercession for the virtue of humility.
This woman is awesome! If you don’t know her story, do yourself a great favor and go read it. Let me just summarize it so you get a taste of her courageous and self-sacrificing spirit:
Perpetua was a young, beautiful, educated noblewoman, who converted to Christianity in the year 203, during one of the many great persecutions in the Roman empire.
She was found out, then thrown into prison to await her fate among wild beasts in the arena. At the time of her imprisonment, Perpetua was 22 years old, married, and mother to a nursing infant son, who was with her for a time in prison.
She was known as a strong leader and loving encourager among the other Christian prisoners, and was also a fearless prayer warrior. Perpetua “walked with shining steps” to her martyrdom, and her story of heroic courage (verified by first-hand witnesses) was so beloved by the early Church that it was read during liturgies.
I don’t have to face wild beasts, but may God give me even a portion of Perpetua’s strength to get up and mother every day!
Ask her intercession for the virtue of courage.
What mother hasn’t poured her heart out on her knees before God, interceding for a child in need? And what mother isn’t tempted at times to give up her prayers when she doesn’t see the answers that she wants?
Sometimes it’s hard to persevere for our children.
St. Monica is a witness to selfless, heroic motherhood because she remained faithful in her love and prayers for her son, Augustine, even when his case seemed hopeless. And look at the fruits of her efforts.
Who knows — maybe the stubborn, difficult child that we pray for every day will grow up to become a passionate, giant of a Saint!
Never give up hope, never give up prayer. All things are possible with God.
Ask her intercession for the virtue of perseverance.
I love St. Zélie Martin, especially because she was an “ordinary” Catholic mama, just like most of us.
A loving wife and mother of nine children (including St. Therese!), a savvy business owner, and a devout Catholic — from the outside, Zélie was probably like so many other women in small-town, 19th-century France.
And yet, she allowed her ordinariness — the valleys and mountains of daily living — to sanctify her, because she embraced it all with extraordinary virtue.
This is especially evident when God allowed heavy suffering to enter her life — including the loss of four children and an agonizing battle with breast cancer. Through it all, she maintained a level of faith in God’s loving providence that can only be called heroic.
Zélie was canonized last year, along with her husband, Louis, giving proof that heroic virtue in the “ordinary” vocation of marriage is possible.
And not only that; it’s desirable. Zélie makes holiness look good.
We can learn from Zélie what it means to live out heroic virtue in the joys and trials of “ordinary” life. The Martin family proves that with God, ordinary can be extraordinary.
Ask her intercession for the virtue of faith.
St. Gianna Molla
Most of us know St. Gianna’s story, and her self-sacrifice for her unborn child. She has so much to teach us. From a short bio at saintgianna.org:
“Gianna Beretta Molla made a heroic choice, but it was something her family members and friends testified she prepared for every day of her life. Her heroic virtue, genuine holiness of life, selflessness, and quiet joy remind all of us that God entrusts us with a personal vocation. Each and every day presents us with choices that have the power to prepare us to take heroic action whenever it will be called for. We can do that, however, only if we surrender ourselves and what we desire to God and His will for us.”
Even if we’re never called upon to die for our children, all of us mothers give up our lives for them– in ways both large and small — on an hourly basis. St. Gianna puts it all in perspective.
Ask her intercession for the virtue of selflessness.
The Communion of Saints has a Moms’ Club, ready and waiting to inspire and encourage us! Let’s reach out to these awesome and holy mamas, and ask them to help us obtain all the virtues we need to live our vocations with heroic virtue.
I’d love to know — who are some of your favorite mama saints?
Copyright 2016 Lydia Borja