Seven Saintly Models of Married Life

This week is National Marriage Week, a time to celebrate the beauty and goodness of married life. The Church in her glory has been filled with beautiful witnesses of Christian marriage. Men and women that have lived out their vocation of marriage with great love, joy and sacrifice modeling for us the beauty of the domestic church. Although, during their lifetime their lives may have remained hidden from popular society, the impact of their love and devotion still transforms lives today.

Saint Louis and Saint Zelie Martin
While they are most known as the parents of St. Therese and it may seem that they lived the perfect life, having all five of their daughters become religious sisters, Saints Louis and Zelie experienced profound loss and heartache, losing four children in a short, four-year period. They lost two sons at 5 months and 8 months and two daughters at 5 years and 7 weeks. Even amidst their grief and sorrow, they sought Christ and held on tightly to their faith, trusting in God that they would one day see their children again.

Saint Zechariah and Saint Elizabeth
In Scripture, we read about Saints Zechariah and Elizabeth being advanced in age and barren for most of their lives. Such a heavy cross they carried for many years, longing for the gift of children and still remaining faithful to God. It was through St. Gabriel’s announcement to St. Zechariah that he learned that his wife St. Elizabeth would bear a son: a son and great prophet, St. John the Baptist, who will prepare the way for the Messiah.

Blessed Luigi and Blessed Maria Beltrame
Blessed Luigi and Blessed Maria were beatified together as a married couple by Pope St. John Paul II. They were blessed with four children, three of whom entered the priesthood and religious life. During Blessed Maria’s fourth pregnancy her doctor advised her to have an abortion, to which she and Blessed Luigi refused. Her pregnancy was filled with great anguish, but their daughter was born healthy and safe.

Mary the Mother of God and Saint Joseph
The Holy Family, the perfect example of holiness. The Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph are the models for Christian family life. We may find ourselves reading the all too familiar stories in Scripture about their lives without pausing to give much contemplation, but their lives are a perfect witness of complete and total trust in God’s will and plan.

Saint Gianna Beretta and Pietro Molla
Many of us are familiar with the part of St. Gianna’s story in her choosing to save the life of her unborn baby over that of her own when doctors discovered a tumor in her uterus. One week after the birth of her fourth baby St. Gianna died. What some people may not know is that between her third and fourth children, Saint Gianna and Pietro experienced the pain of two miscarriages. The depth of their love between them and for God can be found in the letters they wrote, chronicled in the book, The Journey of Our Love: The Letters of Saint Gianna Beretta and Pietro Molla.

Servant of God Chiara Corbella and Enrico Petrillo
A modern saint in whose short life of 28 years and three years of marriage was drawn so close to the cross. Chiara and Enrico were given difficult prenatal diagnoses of their first two pregnancies, in which the doctor advised them to have abortions. Refusing abortions, their babies lived just 30 minutes after birth. During Chiara’s third pregnancy, doctors discovered cancer, which over the next year spread, taking her life just a few days after her son’s first birthday. Chiara died wearing her wedding dress.

Blessed Charles of Austria and Servant of God Zita
Blessed Charles was the last Emperor of Austria and one who worked endlessly for peace during World War I. He and Zita were married for eleven years and were blessed with eight children. Instead of having a traditional feast day, the day of his death, the Church celebrates Blessed Charles’ feast day on his wedding anniversary. He and Zita entrusted their marriage to Our Lady, having a special engraving on the inside of their wedding rings. After being exiled from their own country, Blessed Charles grew sick. His last words to Zita were, “I love you endlessly.”

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Cassie Everts serves as Contributing Writer at Relevant Radio. She is a wife, mother, author and speaker. She is the co-author of Nursery of Heaven and blogs at Everyday Ann. She holds degrees in Theology and Communication Arts from Franciscan University of Steubenville.