As Christians, we’re all called to live a life of holiness. While it can be a welcome invitation to love friends, neighbors, and our community, family can be a whole different story. In fact, it’s often hardest to love those closest to us.
If you struggle to live out the universal call to holiness at family reunions, the dinner table, or in conversation with your siblings, you’re not alone. The next time you’re in a spat with your sibling, here are four pairs of saints to turn to for some Heavenly help!
1. Saints Benedict and Scholastica
Not only were saints Benedict and Scholastica siblings, they were also twins! Both of the siblings established religious communities. Scholastica’s religious community was a mere five miles away from Benedict’s monastic community.
Once a year, the siblings would visit each other near a farmhouse. They often spent these meetings discussing their spiritual lives.
Scholastica loved time with her brother and twin. Sensing that her death was approaching, she asked her brother to stay with her just one day longer so they could continue their discussion and prayer. But Benedict didn’t want to spend the night outside the monastery (breaking his own rule!) so he refused.
Scholastica then asked God to give her a little more time with her brother and, out of nowhere, a thunderstorm started. Benedict and his monks couldn’t return to the monastery.
According to the Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great, Benedict approached Scholastica about the situation. “God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?” Scholastica calmly replied, saying “I asked a favor of you and you refused. I asked it of God and he granted it.”
Three days later, Scholastica died. She was buried in a tomb that Benedict prepared for her himself.
2. Saints Andrew and Simon Peter
Saint Andrew is counted among the first of the Apostles. Meanwhile, Saint Peter (originally called Simon) become the head of the Catholic Church here on earth.
Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen on Lake Genesareth. The Gospel of Luke tells of the Lord calling them to become fishers of men. The Gospel passage reads:
“Now it happened that he was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats at the water’s edge. The fishermen had got out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat”
3. Saints Gregory and Basil
Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory of Nyssa were two spiritual warriors for the Catholic Church in the fourth century. Together, they defended orthodoxy in the face of heresy. Not only were these two great men brothers, but they drew inspiration for their faith life from their pious grandmother, Saint Macrina.
“Never shall I forget the deep impression that the words and example of this venerable woman made upon my soul,” Saint Basil wrote.
4. Saints Enrico and Gianna
Most Catholics know the story of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla who died in 1962. She opted out of an operation in favor of the life of her unborn child. But did you know she had a saint sibling?
Friar Enrico Beretta served as an Italian missionary in Brazil for 33 years. He was a trained physician and surgeon. He’s even known as the “Padre Pio of Brazil.” His cause for canonization was recently started.