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Which saints were also wives and mothers?

In every century, God has raised up valiant women who achieved holiness through the vocation to marriage.

It’s easy to slip into the error that great holiness is only achievable for those in religious life. But married men and women are called to sanctity just as much as religious.

If you’re a wife and mother, it’s probably hard to stay focused on spiritual things and find time for prayer and spiritual reading. The obligations of caring for a family are constant and pressing.

But God is eminently just and does not expect those in the world to keep the same schedule as a monk or nun. Instead, He uses the duties of our state in life to perfect us. The very things that seem to “distract” a wife and mother from spiritual things are, in fact, God’s tools to bring her to holiness. God sanctifies us through our vocation, never in spite of it.

The saints are always our best role models on the path to holiness. Which ones found sanctity in the role of wife and mother? Here are a few of the countless women who did just that.

Our Lady. God Himself sanctified family life by coming to us in the context of a family. Mary, His Mother, ran a household, cared for a husband and a Son, did laundry, cooked meals, went to the market, and more. You can do all these things together with her.

St. Frances of Rome (15th c.). St. Frances was a devoted wife and mother in a marriage that lasted forty years. She and her husband Lorenzo welcomed six children into the world but mourned the childhood deaths of five of them. Frances perfectly harmonized a wife’s prayer life with her domestic duties. She said, “A married woman must leave all her devotions when the household demands it,” having still managed to cultivate a profound interior life.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal (17th c.). St. Jane was an embodiment of the “valiant woman” of the Book of Proverbs. She loved her husband dearly and ran his household competently during his frequent absences at the royal court. Jane endured the deaths of three of her six children, and the death of her husband after nine years of marriage. She went on to found the Order of the Visitation with St. Francis de Sales.

St. Gianna Molla (20th c.). St. Gianna was an Italian wife, mother, and medical doctor. During her fourth pregnancy, a tumor was discovered on her uterus that forced her to choose whether to have an immediate hysterectomy or to continue with the pregnancy. The first option would have ensured her personal welfare but caused the death of her child; the second gave the child the best chance but was very risky for the mother. Gianna’s choice, resulting in life for her child and death for herself in 1962, has made her a heroine to mothers everywhere.

These are only a few of the dozens of holy spouses you’ll meet in Married Saints and Blesseds Through the Centuries—emperors, empresses, kings, queens, farmers, doctors, and ordinary faithful people who became saints through their married vocation. Pick up your copy today!

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