Header image comprises photos of St. Catherine of Siena, St. Elizabeth, St. Faustina, and St. Bernadette.

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Women's History Month: Honoring Saintly Women

Katie Miller
Written By Katie Miller
On Feb, 29 2024
7 minute read

March is Women’s History Month—a time to recognize the significant contributions of women throughout history. Among these remarkable women are female saints whose lives and legacies have impacted the world spiritually and secularly. 

To be inspired to live lives of holiness and to stand up for their beliefs, even in the face of challenges, young Catholic women can look at these strong female saints during Women’s History Month to be encouraged and reminded of their inherent dignity and worth as daughters of God. 

Saints in Heaven, pray for us! 

St. Catherine of Siena

 

Photo of St. Catherine of Siena praying and wearing a white veil and crown of thorns

 

St. Catherine of Siena was born in Siena, Italy, on March 25, 1347. She was the 25th child born to her mother, although half of her brothers and sisters did not survive childhood. Catherine chose not to get married and joined the Third Order of St. Dominic, which allowed her to live outside of a religious order and continue living at home.

At age 21, after living a life of prayer, study, and isolation, she experienced a vision of Christ, who told her to reenter public life and help the poor and sick. 

She often visited hospitals and homes where the poor and sick were found. She traveled and began to be quite outspoken for reform of the Church and encouraged people to confess and love God completely. At that time, the Pope had abandoned his chair in Rome and taken residence in Avignon. She was vital in persuading him to return to Rome. Given her public service to many in various locations and her missionary zeal, this saint of likely choleric or melancholic temperament could be described by her own words, “Be who you are meant to be, and you will set the world on fire.”

St. Catherine would later be declared a Doctor of the Church. She is one of the most influential and popular saints in the Church. At 33, St. Catherine died on April 29, 1380. She is one of the patron saints of Europe, and her head and thumb can be venerated in the Church of St. Dominic in Siena, Italy.

Learn more about St. Catherine of Siena.

 

St. Elizabeth

 

Image of St. Elizabeth hugging Mary, Mother of God

 

St. Elizabeth was a woman of great faith and righteousness. Elizabeth and her husband Zacharias were devout, following the Lord's commandments and ordinances blamelessly, yet they were childless.

Despite their old age and the unlikelihood of conceiving, Elizabeth's faith remained steadfast. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias in the Temple, he delivered the news that Elizabeth would bear a son named John. Zacharias doubted this. However, Elizabeth's faith never wavered.

Upon conceiving, Elizabeth felt the Lord had removed her reproach among men, indicating her deep gratitude and humility. She hid herself for five months, cherishing the miracle bestowed upon her by God.

When Mary, the mother of Jesus, visited her, Elizabeth's unborn child, John the Baptist, leaped in her womb, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth recognized the significance of Mary's visit, acknowledging her as the mother of her Lord and praising her for her belief in the Lord's promises.

Elizabeth's faith, humility, and recognition of the divine in others make her a remarkable woman in biblical history. Her story serves as a testament to the power of faith and the fulfillment of God's promises.

Learn more about St. Elizabeth.

 

St. Faustina

 

Photo of St. Faustina wearing a habit and holding a Bible

 

St. Faustina was a remarkable woman whose life was marked by extraordinary faith and devotion. Born into a poor family in Poland, she was the third of ten children and, though materially poor, was rich in religious fervor.

From a young age, St. Faustina felt a calling to religious life. This calling was first experienced at seven while attending the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Despite her deep desire to enter the convent after completing her schooling, her parents initially refused to grant her permission. Undeterred, she took on various jobs to support her family while nurturing her spiritual life.

In 1924, at 19, St. Faustina attended a dance with her sister Natalia. During this dance, she had a profound vision of Jesus' suffering, which led her to rush to the church and seek guidance from Jesus himself. She was instructed to leave for Warsaw immediately and join a convent. With her parents' approval, she embarked on her journey the next morning.

In Warsaw, St. Faustina found herself at St. James Church, where she sought advice from Fr. Dabrowski. Following his recommendation, she stayed with a trustworthy local woman until she found a convent. After a year of hard work, she was accepted into the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy Convent at 20. There, she took the name "Maria Faustina" of the Blessed Sacrament, signifying her deep devotion to the Eucharist.

St. Faustina experienced numerous visions and mystical encounters with Jesus as a nun. One of the most significant visions occurred in 1931 when Jesus appeared to her as the "King of Divine Mercy" and instructed her to paint an image according to the pattern she saw. This image, now known as the Divine Mercy, symbolizes God's infinite mercy and love for humanity.

St. Faustina's life and teachings have profoundly impacted the Catholic Church and the world. Her diary, "Divine Mercy in My Soul," has been translated into numerous languages and continues to inspire countless individuals to seek God's mercy and forgiveness. She was beatified in 1993 and canonized in 2000 by Pope John Paul II, who declared the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast dedicated to celebrating God's mercy and grace. St. Faustina's legacy reminds us of the power of faith, love, and forgiveness.

Learn more about St. Faustina.

 

St. Bernadette

 

Image of St. Bernadette’s face

 

St. Bernadette was a beacon of saintly virtue and resilience amidst profound adversity. Though initially one of nine children, she bore the burden of surviving the loss of five siblings in infancy. 

Despite these hardships, Bernadette's spiritual journey unfolded in a remarkable series of events, marked by her encounters at the Grotto of Massabielle. At 14, while gathering firewood with her sister and a friend, she experienced her initial vision. This encounter, the first of 18, revealed to her a luminous presence others could not perceive.

The culmination of these divine revelations led to the miraculous transformation of the Grotto's muddy waters into a healing spring, a testament to St. Bernadette's unwavering faith and the power of divine intervention. Though skeptics abounded, scientific scrutiny failed to discredit the inexplicable healings attributed to the spring.

Even in her final days, ravaged by tuberculosis, Bernadette's unwavering faith and humility remained unyielding. Her body, found to be incorrupt upon multiple exhumations, stands as a testament to her enduring sanctity, drawing countless pilgrims seeking spiritual communion and solace.

St. Bernadette, a woman of profound faith and humility, continues to inspire generations with her enduring legacy of devotion and resilience, embodying the transformative power of faith in the face of adversity.

Learn more about St. Bernadette. 

 

Celebrate Women’s History Month with the Saints


As young Catholics transition from high school to college, they often face new challenges to their faith. They may encounter different beliefs, lifestyles, and worldviews that can challenge their own beliefs. 

But we are stronger with God and the help of Mary and the saints. Remember, saints faced their own challenges and struggles, yet they remained steadfast in their faith. By studying their lives, Catholics of all ages can learn valuable lessons about perseverance, courage, and resilience.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, let us honor the lives and legacies of these remarkable female saints!

To learn more about the lives of other female saints, visit our Saint Database! From St. Veronica and Our Lady of Lourdes to St. Teresa and St. Anne, we have hundreds of saints for you to explore and start to imitate in your daily life. 

Check it out!

 

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