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Cathi Kennedy reviews a new book about saintly couples and how God brought them together.

God began my path to the Catholic Church as a teenager, although I wasn’t aware of it then. He purposely put people in my way who planted seeds, who I learned from, and whose example I remember still today. Guiding me to my husband, a practicing Catholic, was the final arc in my faith journey. In Courtship of the Saints: How the Saints Met Their Spouses, Patrick O’Hearn writes about saintly couples and how God brought them together, sometimes for a short while and sometimes for a lifetime, and their relationship brought them and others closer to God. 


Courtship of the Saints


Courtship—a seemingly outdated concept—is emphasized as one of the most important aspects of a romantic relationship. “Courtship looks to the future—to eternity” (11). The most important question during a courtship is, does this person want to become a saint with me?   

Broadly defined as when a couple establishes a relationship to culminate in marriage, courtship is a step most modern couples skip. O’Hearn makes the case that this time in a couple’s relationship is vital to ensure alignment with the things that matter most: God, family, and living a life oriented toward heaven.  

In this well-researched book, O’Hearn documents royal couples like Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and Louis IV. Elizabeth was betrothed to Louis when she was four and he was eleven. In a time when marriages were arranged for political power, God still moved to make all things good. Elizabeth and Louis developed a great love for each other and lived a devout life together.   

Other marriages included in the book are some well-known marriages: 

  • Boaz and Ruth 
  • Saints. Joachim and Anne 
  • Saints Joseph and Mary 
  • Saints Louis and Zélie Martin (parents of Saint Thérèse of Liseux)  

And some lesser-known (at least to me): 

  • Bernard and Ellen Casey (parents of Blessed Solanus Casey) 
  • Blessed Franz and Franziska Jaggerstatter  
  • Blessed Luigi and Blessed Maria Quattrochi 


The book also includes chapters on how to discern marriage, how to choose a spouse, and how to support singles. The last chapter comprises “saintly sayings” regarding holy relationships, including this one attributed to J.R.R. Tolkien:  

No man, however truly he loved his betrothed and bride as a young man, has lived faithful to her as a wife in mind and body without deliberate conscious exercise of the will, without self-denial. Too few are told that - even those brought up ‘in the Church.’ Those outside seem seldom to have heard it.  


Ask for Courtship of the Saints at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, TAN Books.



Copyright 2023 Cathi Kennedy
Images: Canva
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