Women saints who give the care of their children to others

Not sure if this is correct forum for this question.

There have been various women saints who after their husband death, have turned the care of their children over to others while they retreat to a monastery. I can’t understand how that can be a positive action. Shouldn’t motherhood be their primary vocation?

And no, I can’t remember which saints did that. :thinking:

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I can’t think of one myself. If you could come up with an example that would be helpful.

Depending upon the time in which a woman lived and her class, it might have been the norm to have someone else be the primary caregiver of your child. It doesn’t mean she wasn’t involved at all or even that she had forsaken her responsibility to raise her children.

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The closest I can think for your scenario is St. Jean de Chantal. However, she saw her grown children settled before starting her order and I believe she brought her youngest with her and saw her schooled and settled as was proper. So she didn’t abandon her children.

I’ve read that some people have taken exception to a story of her stepping over her begging (grown) son’s prostrate body when he tried to block her leaving, but he was a very theatrical man at that point enjoying the pleasures of cultured society and his little fit supposedly matched a scene from a popular play at the time. So he was just creating a spectical of himself.

St. Margaret of Cortona

From what I can find with a quick search she didn’t abandon her son to the care of others. She brought him with her and he became a friar.

I read her life years ago when looking for a single mom saint role model. From what I recall, she repented after she was made homeless following the death of her lover and she gave her young son to a monastery for them to raise so she could help those in need.

I’ll have to look at more resources once my head isn’t trying to kill me, but what I found said she found her lover dead, what looks like tried to go to her in-laws and was turned away, and somehow ended up at the Franciscans with her son (who I haven’t found an age for at that time) and it sounds like he joined the Franciscan friars while his mother eventually took final vows in the Third Order. What I was reading seemed to be saying her son stayed with her for a time at least, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the monks took over his schooling and raising instead.

Depending on her son’s age at the time and the time period she could fit what the OP is looking for. Though i would still argue that she acted as a parent and found an accepted way of raising children at the time depending on everything.

In the case of Margaret of Cortona, her child was conceived out of wedlock and there would have been a big stigma on the both of them in those days, especially after her parents and in-laws refused to help. Giving the kid to the Franciscans while she pursued a Franciscan vocation herself seems like a reasonable solution to the problem of how she would feed and educate her child.

I’m not aware of any other cases of saints giving their children away. I am aware of several mothers whose children were more or less adults by the standards of their time when the mother entered religious life, and some other mothers who took all the kids along when they went off to found their order.


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