8 Saints Who Were Royal
These days, we don’t often talk about royalty and sainthood in the same breath. We think about those people with royal blood and royal duties as confined to the political sphere and high society. But God can work in surprising ways to remind us that nothing and no one is outside his jurisdiction. In many instances, kings and queens have humbled themselves and used their positions of power to serve God and perform good works. The Catholic Church recognizes these 8 royal individuals, among others, as saints.
1. St. Edward the Confessor
1003-1066 | Feast: October 13
Known for his gentleness and piety, St. Edward the Confessor became King of England in 1042. Thanks to his rejection of personal ambition, he ruled prudently and with much peace.
2. St. Adelaide of Italy
932-999 | Feast: December 16
St. Adelaide lived in a tumultuous time of fighting for the rule of Italy. She eventually reigned as a regent for her grandson, Otto. As a ruler, she was noted for her wisdom, works of charity, and establishment of churches and monasteries.
3. St. Elizabeth of Portugal
1271-1336 | Feast: July 4
St. Elizabeth of Portugal is perhaps best known as a peacemaker. After marrying King Denis of Portugal, she devoted herself to caring for the sick and the poor. She was later called upon to create peace between both family members and nations.
4. St. Louis IX of France
1214-1270 | Feast: August 25
Unlike some of the kings who preceded him, King Louis IX of France saw his royal role as a responsibility to serve God. In addition to serving the sick and poor, he had a great love of justice, and he established a fairer (and less violent) court system.
5. St. Helena of Constantinople
c. 248-330 | Feast: August 18
The mother of the emperor Constantine, St. Helena was a convert to Christianity. While on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she is said to have discovered the True Cross of Jesus. She had churches built in both Rome and the Holy Land.
6. St. Ferdinand III of Castile
1198-1252 | Feast: May 30
St. Ferdinand was the king of Leon and Castile. He had a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and during his reign, he worked to reestablish the Catholic faith in the region by building churches and monasteries. He was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis.
7. St. Stephen of Hungary
975-1038 | Feast: August 16
Recognized today as the patron of Hungary, St. Stephen did much work to establish Hungary as a Christian nation. He built many churches and created systems to support clergy and the poor.
8. St. Hedwig
1374-1399 | Feast: July 17
St. Hedwig was the queen of Poland. She was essential in the conversion of the Lithuanians, including her husband, Jogaila, whom she only married once he had been baptized. She is known for her works of charity, especially for the sick and the poor.