Saints Who Discerned


I am a Seminary Candidate (only a few interviews/tests left) for the Diocese of _______. I have been reflecting on the lives of the saints, and looking for some to study more in depth during Lent/Easter/the next few months.

My question is: Are there stories of any saints who struggled with marriage/celibacy that you know of? I don’t mean like the Virgin Martyrs of the Early Church (dad wants daughter to be married, daughter wants to remain celibate, convinces potential husband of her POV, martyred by family/local authorities in response) and I don’t mean like Augustine (struggling between the life of a playboy and a saint). I mean where a saint seriously thought about getting married/fell in love with someone (not just an idea), but then ultimately discerned the call to celibacy.

I am sure that they exist, but I feel like the way most hagiographies are written, any account of that happening tends to get blurred out. Exs: I don’t recall any part of Anthony of Padua’s vocation story that involved him thinking about getting married (just wrestling between the Augustinian and Franciscan Orders). Or John Paul II: I don’t really remember him thinking about getting married and/or falling in love with someone in Weigel’s Witness to Hope. Or with Francis (of Assisi); I remember him struggling against being a playboy, but never about getting married (Yes, I know about Claire; but there are a few problems with it 1. They met after he had made his vows [therefore, it would be a temptation to break his vows, not discernment about whether or not he should take them] 2. The struggle has definitely been exaggerated over the years; wasn’t actually that much of a struggle)

I know that there have to have been saints who dealt with this situation (as essentially all seminarians since the mandatory celibacy discipline have had to deal with [plus all of the celibate priests/religious from before the rule]), but I cannot think of any. Does anyone know of any?

(I also know the reverse exists: St. Therese’s parents, I am just looking for saints in the other situation.)



I am very interested in this question among others:

Are there any married MALE saints? ( I know many married men and women who are saints but I am asking about the canonized)
I can think of St Joseph, of course, but I get lost after him.

Also, are there any saints who started out poor and remained poor?

And are there any saints who died as a rich person?

Just if someone out there knows…


“Are there any married MALE saints?”
Just a few famous ones: St. Peter, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Louis IX of France, St. Thomas More (REALLY awesome married man), and St. Joachim, to name a few.

“Also, are there any saints who started out poor and remained poor?”
I would have to guess and say that many of the early Desert Fathers and the Franciscan/Dominican orders must have been poor to start out with (as the majority of people in the world are not rich, I would say it could be a safe bet that some poor people would join these orders). Though, I suppose the best example would be Mary and Joseph.

“And are there any saints who died as a rich person?”
The various King/Ruler saints likely would qualify (even though they gave large amounts of money away, they wouldn’t bankrupt the kingdom…) Some of the Early Christians (often martyred) were part of the rich/upper classes (ex: Perpetua, Clement ?])


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