The Catholic Church contains some of the best examples of fatherhood. Saint Joseph, Saint Joachim, and Saint Louis Martin are among some of the most well-known. However, did you know there are other saintly men from whom one can also draw inspiration from?
Get ready to meet four great, holy men who were not only holy examples to their children but continue to inspire men to this day.
Saint Basil the Elder
Saint Basil the Elder was the father of 10 children – four of them are saints! You may know them – Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Macrina the Younger, and Peter of Sebaste.
Basil and his wife, Emmelia (also a saint!), were well known for their charitable acts towards the poor and most needy. Not much is known about his life as a father, but one can just imagine when we remember the fact that four of his children are recognized as saints in the Church.
Although he died shortly after the birth of his youngest child, the groundwork he and Emmelia cultivated in their older children bore great fruit for humanity.
Saint Ferdinand III
Saint Ferdinand III (also known as Ferdinand of Castille) was the father of 13 children. He is said to have been a great, pious ruler as well as father. The saint raised his children to be good, upright Christians and even delighted in seeing two of his children enter religious life as a priest and a nun.
At the end of his life, he gathered his family and asked them to continue to live a genuinely Christian life. He also practiced what he preached by publicly repenting his sins. His life of piety and discipline was a great witness to his children and an example to the rest of those under his rule in Spain.
Saint Louis IX of France
Saint Louis IX of France was the father of 11 children. Along with his wife, Margaret of Provence, Louis was involved in the upbringing of his children. He is said to have raised his children to be upright, pious, and generous to the poor and religious.
On his deathbed, he instructed his son and heir, Philip, to love God above all else and to also “be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate, and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. . .Be just to your subjects, swaying neither to right or left, but holding the line of justice.”
Some of these letters are still available and are highly recommended to read.
Saint Thomas More
Saint Thomas Moore was the father of 4 children. Thomas is a great example of a man who puts his family before himself. As a widowed father, he sought a good woman to help raise his four children following the death of his first wife. As it’s been documented, he sought to remarry “for the sake of his family rather than for pleasure.”
He was often away from home due to his work. But Thomas made sure his children were brought up properly. In his absence, he asked that their tutor teach them the importance of the faith and living a holy life. An emphasis was placed on prayer, the reception of the sacraments, and charitable works towards the neediest. He remained a good and faithful father even after his children married. He remained especially close to his eldest daughter with whom he corresponded during this imprisonment.
If you’re a father (or feel called to marriage), look to the lives of these saintly men. We need strong, holy men to continue to teach the next generation the beauty and importance of our faith.
Read more: 5 Wise Pieces of Advice from Pope Francis to Fathers
Whatever you do this Father’s Day weekend, enjoy this day. This is a day for contemplation, whether you have a father figure in your life or not. Remember our Father in Heaven and thank Him for blessings He has bestowed upon you.