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Married Saints for Newlyweds To Look Up To

Creator:
Published:
December 14, 2023
July 17, 2023
Look up to these married saints if you're a newlywed.|Look up to these married saints if you're a newlywed.

If you’re preparing for marriage or in your newlywed years, you’re on the lookout for advice, tips, suggestions, hacks — anything to help you navigate a huge transition you’re staking your life on.

Let me suggest one source of wisdom that might be overlooked in the bridal magazines and communication workshops: the saints offer excellent examples of how to navigate the ups and downs of marriage. Throughout both ordinary and extraordinary situations, they showcase the virtue and values it takes to carry out the call to lifelong love in marriage.

If you’re new to marriage and are looking for some patron saints, here are some of the best couples from our faith tradition to look up to.

On hospitality: Prisca and Aquila

Marriage is about more than the couple — it’s about bringing life to this world. While we usually hear this in reference to bearing children, it’s also true within our social and communal lives. A married couple’s love should be directed beyond their own household — it should create new life in their networks of relationships. That means welcoming others into your home and building community with them; that means accompanying those you love through pain, loss, joy, and more.

Prisca (or Priscilla) and Aquila bore that virtue well. The couple met in Rome, working as tent makers until they were expelled from the city with other Jewish people in 49 AD. They soon became friends with St. Paul, accompanying him to Syria and becoming a pillar for the new Christian community there.

Priscilla and Aquila invited strangers and friends into their home to live and pray — it was a safe place, a house where people met and came to love one another. Their hospitality nurtured our community of believers in those early days. Though we aren’t expected to grow a new religion in our own homes, their call to host others in love and provide a space of refuge is one we can all replicate.

On persevering through suffering: Luigi and Maria

Marriage is a joyful thing, but the grace of that joy is intertwined with the pain, heartbreak, and suffering of sharing life together. While we know God doesn’t cause us to suffer, we also understand that with grace, great things can come from how we respond to heartache.

Beatified in 2001 by Pope St. John Paul II, Blessed Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi knew their fair share of pain and suffering. An Italian couple living in Rome at the turn of the century, the Quattrocchis helped Jewish people escape Nazi persecution in Italy. They experienced the threats that came with war and the real dangers involved in serving their brothers and sisters.

Closer to home, Maria experienced difficult pregnancies: first dealing with what would likely now be considered postpartum anxiety or depression, then being diagnosed with placenta previa — with a five percent chance of survival — with her fourth child.

Each experience brought with it pain, heartbreak, devastation, and fear. Luigi and Maria maintained their quiet faith and celebrated moments of beauty within the sacrifices they made for their family and others. And that’s what makes them extraordinary: they persevered in love, whether it was in their everyday experience or life-threatening situations.

“Like every path of holiness, yours too, dear married couples, is not easy,” Pope St. John Paul II reflected at their beatification. “Every day you face difficulties and trials … In these situations, one can bear a great witness to fidelity in love, which is purified by having to pass through the crucible of suffering.” That’s exactly what Luigi and Maria did — and with their intercession, we can employ fidelity and perseverance throughout our own trials.

On creating space for family: Pierre and Juliette

The term “found family” makes space for relationships that feel like family, but aren’t related by blood. Sometimes, a marriage helps us to ground and foster those found family connections.

A great example is found in the lives of Venerable Pierre Toussaint and his wife, Servant of God Juliette Noel Toussaint. The two were raised together as enslaved people, until Pierre saved up enough funds to purchase his wife’s freedom. It was only upon the death of his owner in 1807 that he was declared free, himself.

Once freed, the couple grew their found family: they took in several young Black boys who otherwise had no family, raised them, and helped them find work.

Pierre and Juliette experienced the devastating impacts of a corrupt and systemic abuse of an entire race of people. Their survival — and perseverance — is admirable, but their virtue does not lie in overcoming an unjust system and escaping from chains that never should have bound them. Yes, they were remarkable in how they braved their captivity, but Pierre and Juliette showed us what it means to care for one another, to grow and foster community, and to find family — to be a place where family can be found.

***

That’s perhaps the most important virtue of marriage, one that runs through all three of these couples. As married couples, we are called to love abundantly. That love is directed at one another, and it also multiplies and pours out — into our community, into how we welcome people into our homes, into the ways we bear joys sufferings with others.

Most of us won’t experience the great and terrible stories that accompany these saints, but saints aren’t meant to be heroes lauded for their fairytale bravery or stories. They show us how to live in the everyday — how to pursue virtue in the ordinary and in the extraordinary.

And the whole reason we celebrate saints is because we know we can rely on them. Because miracles have been attributed to their intercession, we know that their prayers for us make a difference. These married couples know well what it means to cultivate marriage — asking them to pray for us is a way to invite their companionship as a couple.

The more we get to know and pray with these holy men and women, the more our marriage can reflect the love that animated their lives together.

Creators:
Molly Cruitt
Published:
December 14, 2023
July 17, 2023
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