Yes, I’m aware Mother’s Day was half a week ago. I like to drag out holidays for all they’re worth.
Here we go!
(Oh, and by the way, here I’m talking about physical mothers—spiritual mothers will come another day!)
1. St. Zelie Martin
Early on, Zelie wanted to be a religious sister; she didn’t want to be married, and neither did Louis Martin, the man arranged to be Zelie’s husband. Even after they were married, they intended to have a Josephite marriage and consecrate their chastity to God. However, a priest advised them that, as a married couple, it was God’s will for them to be open to life. Ever obedient, Zelie became the mother to one of the Doctors of the Church: St. Therese of Lisieux.
2. St. Gianna Beretta Molla
Gianna waited a long time for the man God had chosen to be her husband. As she was waiting, she became a doctor and dedicated her life to serving the sick, and even after she married Pietro Molla in her 30s and proceeded to birth and raise three kids, she continued her service/career. When she conceived her fourth child, she had severe complications. Her doctors encouraged her to have an abortion. Gianna refused, gave life to her child, and sacrificed her own life in the process, due to the complications. That baby girl, also named Gianna, is alive to this day.
3. St. Felicity
(She's on the left of the Blessed Mother in the picture.) Felicity was pregnant when the Roman Empire arrested her for being Christian. She gave birth in prison, and gave the ultimate gift to her baby by sacrificing her life for Jesus—that little one had a martyr, saint, and shining example of the unquenchable love of God for a mother.
4. St. Perpetua
(And Perpetua's on the right.) A comrade to St. Felicity, Perpetua was already mothering her young son when she was arrested by the Romans for being Christian. Her father begged her to reconsider, to think of her son, and Perpetua did think of her son—she gave him an unshakeable example of the Holy Spirit’s fortitude, of sacrificial love, and of remaining staunch to the Ultimate Truth by becoming a martyr.
5. St. Rita
St. Rita wanted to dedicate her life to God as a nun, but instead she was placed into an arranged marriage with an abusive man. She mothered two sons, and she loved them more than anything—which meant that she wanted their souls safe, even if that meant physical loss. She poured her heart and her life out to God for her boys. After they and her husbund passed away, Rita entered the Sisters of St. Augustine.
6. St. Monica
St. Monica is the mother of St. Augustine, but her kid wasn’t always so saintly; he was a worldly man—and a pagan—for decades. But St. Monica wouldn’t give up on her child. She prayed and fasted for every one of those decades, begging God to bring her son to the Faith. God’s grace and a mother’s love won, and now St. Augustine is a Doctor of the Church.
7. Mother Mary
She gave birth to and raised God. You can’t top that.
(I was about to say, And she’s our mother too!, but remember, today’s list is of physical mothers, but she’ll be on that list of spiritual mothers—don’t you worry about that!)
I hope every mother can find a little of herself in these saints. To all the moms of the world, we love you, and thank you for all you do as you live the love of God in raising your baby girls and boys (even if they’re all grown up).
*All images are public domain from Wikimedia Commons