“Dad, sign my permission slip!” “Dad, can we stop for ice cream?” “Dad, my car is making a funny noise…”
From priests to parents, fathers have always held a vital role in the Church. As Father’s Day draws near, this is a good time to reflect on what makes a good father. Is it how he provides and protects his family? Is it how he cares for his children? Or maybe the key to being a good father is rooted in the type of role he models.
Here are five fatherly saints to turn to for advice, guidance, and prayers.
1. St. Louis Martin
Louis Martin lived a simple life. He and his wife, Zelie, were endlessly dedicated to Christ and the Eucharist, and they passed this love onto their children. Zelie died when the couple’s youngest, St. Therese of Lisxiue, was four years old, leaving Louis to raise the couple’s children on his own. Louis raised his daughters to be as devoted to Christ as he and Zelie were.
2. St. John Bosco
St. John Bosco grew up in a poor farming family. He wanted to be a priest from a young age, and had to work to seek out an education. Along his way, John picked up magic tricks from circus performers. This skill served him well later in his ministry as he spent a great deal of time caring for children on the streets of Turin. During his canonization, he was given the title “Father and Teacher of Youth”. St. John Bosco showed how important it is to look after children in need.
3. St. Maximilian Kolbe
Maximilian Kolbe, patron saint of families, addicts, and the pro-life movement, was a priest who stood to defend the family to his death. Kolbe was a Franciscan with a special dedication to Mary. Throughout his life, he worked to spread the faith, even starting monasteries in Japan and India. Kolbe returned to Poland, the place of his birth, and eventually ended in Auschwitz. In an act of bravery and sacrifice, Maximilian Kolbe volunteered to die in place of a man with a family.
4. St. Thomas More
Alongside his role as a lawyer and politician, Thomas More was father to five children. Even when he was away, he would write many letters to them in an effort to be present in their lives. He ensured that his daughters received the same schooling has is son. More also worked to defend the family unit, standing up to King Henry VIII when the king decided to pull away from the Catholic Church after being unable to obtain a divorce. St. Thomas More modeled to his children what it means to stand by one’s faith even in trial.
5. St. Jerome Emiliani
Due to his special devotion to orphans, St. Jerome Emiliani is patron of adopted children. Jerome worked tirelessly throughout his life to look after children who were orphaned by war. He used his own money to feed, clothe, house, and educate children from the city. Eventually, he also founded a hospital and a house to shelter prostitutes. Jerome’s main focus, however, was always looking after orphans in need.
6. St. Pope John Paul II
Although St. John Paul II wasn’t a biological father, he certainly fulfilled a kind of fatherhood to the church. Before he became Pope, John Paul II would often bring the youth of his church on hiking trips. As Pope, John Paul II had plenty of fatherly advise for the people of the Church, including The Theology of the Body, which taught the about the crossing of theology and sexuality.
7. St. Joseph
Finally, we have St. Joesph – foster father to Jesus himself. St. Joesph modeled strong trust in the Lord. Joseph accepted pregnant Mary after being told in a dream to do so. He also readily took off in the dead of night to protect his family after being warned in another dream. Joseph exemplified a trust in God and a love for his family that everyone can look up too.