Pope Francis has always reiterated his call to love and honor our grandparents. In fact, he even instituted a day for them! But surprisingly, not many saints have had the chance to become grandparents and have not experienced the joy of holding their children’s offspring.
Many saints in Catholic history died young because of martyrdom, while others have chosen to live a life devoted to God as nuns and priests. Meanwhile, those who have children had experienced the tragedy of losing them early on. (Read: Pope: Grandparents, elderly are bread that nourishes our life)
But there are a few who were able to enjoy the life of being a lolo and lola. These religious men and women were able to teach their grandchildren about their faith and love for God. Get to know them below.
St. Joachim and St. Anne
Sts. Joachim and Anne are the grandparents of Jesus. However, prior to having Mama Mary as their beloved daughter, the devout couple battled with the anxiety of not having children. But one day, while Anne was praying and Joachim was fasting and praying in the desert, they both received a vision from the Archangel Gabriel that they will be the parents of the Mother of God. Their love and sacrifice were passed on to their daughter who accepted God’s will of her being the mother of Jesus without a second thought. (Read: How prayers led Saint Anne to a special kind of motherhood)
St. Macrina the Elder
St. Macrina the Elder helped and molded her grandchildren to live a deep and lively Christian faith– three of them would later be named saints. However, her Christian life was full of trials. She and her husband were forced to flee their home for fear of being persecuted during the time of Galerius and Diocletian. They have become so poor that they did not have food to eat. But their faith remained steadfast and they were rewarded with three apos who are saints: St. Marcrina the Younger, St. Basil the Great, and St. Gregory of Nyssa.
St. Thomas More
St. Thomas More became famous for upholding the indissolubility of Henry VIII’s marriage but he was more than that. He was a husband and a father to five children. At the time of his death, he had four grandchildren. When he was incarcerated in the Tower of London, he wrote a final letter to his beloved daughter Meg with a shard of coal: “Our Lord bless you good daughter and your good husband and your little boy and all yours and all my children and all my godchildren and all our friends …” St. Thomas More chose God and family over his king and offered everything, even his life, to the hands of God. (Read: “Pray for families,” Pope Francis reminds us this month of August)
St. Catherine Laboure
St. Catherine Laboure is the patron saint of seniors. She is known primarily for receiving visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary that led to the creation of the Miraculous Medal. St. Catherine dedicated her life to the daily care of the elderly and infirm around Paris. Despite not having grandchildren herself, she was a lola who always took care of the sick and dying, reminding everyone of God’s love and Mama Mary’s grace through charity.