It seems that the emergence of the springtime means I see an abundance of pregnancy announcements on social media. Of course there are little birds and bunnies appearing in yards everywhere, too. I think they (whoever “they” are) were smart to put Mother’s Day smack dab in the middle of this “popping” of new life.
As a pregnant person myself (24 weeks as I write this), I find so much joy in seeing new life everywhere. But, motherhood and birth can be daunting. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I didn’t take advantage of the amount of saints I could ask for intercession.
As I have grown into motherhood, I’ve found much support and comfort from the saints. Their witness and life inspire me to be a better mom. This time around, I’m preparing for birth with more saints in my “pocket”, ready to pull them out for prayer when needed. Here are a few saints for birth and motherhood to help encourage you in this season of new life!
Saints for Birth
So, the first saint I think of is St. Gerard. He’s number 1 when I think about birth. St. Gerard was an Italian lay member of the Redemptorists who is considered a mystic because of his deep prayer life, his frequent fasting, his ability to levitate, bi-locate and read souls. Many miracles are attributed to him, some when he was alive and many after his death. The most famous story recounts a time when he had dropped his handkerchief and a young girl attempted to return it to him. He told her to keep it. She later got married and conceived a child, but unexpectedly went into labor almost losing the baby. She asked for the handkerchief to be put on her and she had the baby safely. There are many other stories of his intercession and miraculous births, and he is the patron of expectant mothers.
St. Gianna Molla is also another go-to saint for birth. As a mama with three children, a pediatrician, and advocate for children and women, St. Gianna suffered through miscarriages and then a pregnancy with a tumor also in the uterus. She chose the safest procedure for the baby (just removing the tumor), and it was successful because the baby was born later by C-section. However, she had complications from the surgery and died about a week later.
St. Raymond Nonnatus is a great one, too. He was born by C-section and his name literally means “not born”. I think about him sometimes because I have watched the show, Call the Midwife, and the sister-midwives on that show are a part of the Anglican order of Raymond Nonnatus.
St. Elizabeth of the Visitation is my last go-to for birth. She was dying to have a baby and finally was blessed with St. John the Baptist in her old age. I’m thinking that Our Lady was there to witness his birth and I’m sure the birth was difficult for Elizabeth since she was an older lady. But, she was a great woman of faith who blessed Our Lady when John leaped in her womb.
Marian Titles for Birth
Our Lady is always a good one to ask for intercession. Many believe that she didn’t experience any pain in her labor (because that was a consequence of the Fall), so she can help you labor with love and joy. Our Lady of La Leche is a great one for breastfeeding and especially if you’re low on milk supply or having trouble with latching (so frustrating!). Our Mother of Perpetual Help and Our Lady of Good Success are also good titles of Our Lady to implore for a safe and healthy birth.
Saints for Motherhood
St. Gianna is usually my go-to. I mentioned her above for birth too, but she is just a fantastic intercessor for motherhood. She always put her family first in everything. Gianna loved her husband and children so much, and it was evident in the way she lived and the choices she made in regards to her troubled pregnancy. She is also a great example to us of a working mom because she was a busy pediatrician and mama.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is also a huge inspiration for me in motherhood. She had five children and became a widow very young. St. Elizabeth was a convert, a founder of a religious order, and then a teacher and foundress of a school. She had a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, but she was completely devoted to Jesus in the Eucharist. She also had to watch some of her children die before her, so I always seek the fortitude that she had.
St. Zelie Martin and St. Monica are two mamas I see as models, as well. They both raised children who became saints (even if it took forever for St. Augustine to come home!). They were faithful and holy mamas who modeled Christ to their children.
Marian Titles for Motherhood
So, Theotokos or Mater Dei is a great one, obviously, because it means Mother of God! Mary had a little to handle – literally raising God’s Son, eventually witnessing his passion and death, and standing with him through it all. Any of her titles in the Litany of Loreto are also helpful while we are chasing, nursing, and caring for children.
I pray that as we approach Mother’s Day you are reminded of the qualities of these holy saints in your mother. Also, if you’re approaching birth or are new to motherhood, you might be inspired to ask these friends for help. These saints for birth and motherhood are true friends that will stick with you on the journey.