Q. In honor of Mother’s Day, who are some saints who were mothers and who would make great intercessors and role models for mothers today?
A. So many holy mothers to choose from. Here are a few.
Do you hope to rear your children to be saints? Then you should get to know St. Emmelia of Caesaria (d. 375), known as “the mother of saints.” She lived in Cappadocia (in modern-day Turkey), and among her ten children are five who are recognized as saints by both the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches: Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Peter of Sebaste, Naucratius, and Macrina the Younger. Of course, Emmelia had some help in raising those holy children. Both her husband, Basil the Elder, and her mother-in-law, Macrina the Elder, are also venerated as saints! Macrina the Elder is the patron of widows.
St. Monica (322–387) is the go-to saintly intercessor for mothers of wayward children. Her famous son, St. Augustine, led a young life that would break the heart of any devout mother: He joined a religious cult and fathered a child with a long-term mistress. But through God’s grace in response to Monica’s relentless prayers, Augustine returned to the Catholic faith, repented of his immoral ways, and went on to become a celebrated bishop and theologian.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922–1962) was an Italian mother and pediatrician. When pregnant with her fourth child, she was diagnosed with a tumor in her uterus. Gianna refused both an abortion and a hysterectomy so she could save the child, and endured a painful and difficult pregnancy and childbirth. She died soon after the child was born. Gianna is patron saint of the unborn, mothers, physicians, and those suffering from infertility.
St. Anne (1st century) was the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. She’s patron saint of grandmothers, mothers, and women in labor.
Of course, the greatest saintly intercessor and role model for moms — and for us all — is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church. Mother’s Day is the perfect occasion to renew our trust in her maternal care for us as she leads us ever closer to her divine Son.