In every family, there’s always that one member who’s lovingly referred to as a saint—that preternaturally kind, helpful, and prayerful parent, child, or sibling who puts other people’s needs before their own.
Then there are those families whose members are made up of saints—literally. That families like them come once in a lifetime doesn’t mean we can’t strive or aspire to be like them. Does your family possess the following qualities and virtues of these four religious families? (Read: This Pinay Catechist Has Been Serving the Church for 40 Years Now)
St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary: Obedience
Theirs was not the most ideal relationship. In fact, he contemplated divorcing her quietly when he found out she was carrying a child that was not his.
Yet this unlikely couple is the model of utmost obedience and faith on so many levels. Mary accepted her role as Mother to the Messiah and Handmaid of the Lord, while Joseph humbly followed the instructions of an angel sent by God to take Mary as his wife and love her and the Baby Jesus as his own.
St. Monica and St. Augustine: Forgiveness
Only a saint would have the capacity to forgive the way St. Monica did. This was a woman who forgave her hot-tempered, cheating husband who mocked her virtues of charity and piety. And despite kicking her wayward son Augustine out of the house for embracing a cult-like religion, she not only forgave him, she followed him to Rome and spent the next 17 years praying for his conversion. (Read: 3 Motherhood Lessons We Can Learn From St. Monica)
Her tireless pleas did not go unanswered. Augustine was eventually baptized a Christian, and mother and son would developed a deep friendship cut short by her death on their way to Africa.
St. Benedict and St. Scholastica: Spending quality time
Sure, they saw each other only once a year, in a house midway between their respective residences. But each time they met, it was quality time between the twin brother and sister, who devoted the day to deep talk about God and all things spiritual. So appreciative was Scholastica of their meet-ups that when Benedict prepared to leave, his twin wept and prayed, causing a major downpour that made her brother stay.
He didn’t take it personally, though. When Scholastica passed away, Benedict laid her remains to rest in his own tomb.
Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin: Leading by example
When you are parents to five nuns, one of them a saint, you must be doing something right. Though Louis and Zelie originally dreamed of entering religious life, the watchmaker and lace-maker, respectively, would go on to marry and have nine children, four of them dying at an early age. The five who remained were raised on daily prayers and watching their parents helping the poor and needy. “God gave me a father and a mother who were more worthy of heaven than of earth,” St. Therese of Lisieux later wrote. (Read: How to Raise a Saint)
So it was no surprise when Louis (widowed after Zelie’s death from breast cancer) saw his five daughters enter the convent. “It is a great, great honor for me that the Good Lord desires to take all of my children. If I had anything better, I would not hesitate to offer it to him,” he said. Fittingly, the father of a saint would become one himself; in 2015, he and Zelie were canonized by Pope Francis.