The Saints are often judged in terms of how well they lived poorly. Humility and poverty are virtues which should rarely be judged externally. They are traits of the soul. The fact of owning wealth or a title won’t bar you from the goal of sanctity any more than being a pauper will get you to Heaven.
The royal Saints of the Catholic Church are examples of how someone can be Christlike without always dressing in sackcloth. Many were great leaders, skilled in battle, powerful in spirit to rule and protect their people. They did all of this in the name of Christ; it is His kingdom that matters in the end.
I have already covered three royal saints here; the topic fascinated me, and I decided to do more research on them. Here are three more royal Saints from all over the world. These kings and queens chose to use their power for the greater good.
St. Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great is not only a saint in the Catholic Church, but he is a prominent figure in ancient history. Born in 849, he was King of Wessex, a devout monarch who fought for the Christian faith as much as he did for his country.
In 853 he traveled to Rome and became friends with Pope Leo IV, who adopted him as a godson. Alfred did not let the gleam of a royal title blind him to what we are called to do–be little Christs on earth.
A great scholar, Alfred translated many classics for his people. He desired to serve his flock spiritually in other ways, but was unable to, as most of his reign was spent in conflict with the Danes.
Alfred protected his flock, never forgetting that the true King is Jesus. Like St. Alfred, we might find ourselves doing something other than we had wanted with our lives and talents; no talent is wasted if it is used for the Lord.
Conversions to the True Faith are always reason for celebration. Historically, when a King or Emperor converted to a different faith, their people were affected in dramatic ways. Sometimes it led to good things; others, it leads to more trouble.
The conversions of Constantine and Clovis are examples of how the leader of a tribe can guide his people home. When the Frank ruler King Clovis I became a Catholic, it set off a wave of conversion among his people.
According to the historian Gregory of Tours, Clovis converted after winning a battle against the Alemanni, a rival German tribe. His wife, Clotilde, was already a Catholic. She was the granddaughter of Gundioc, King of Burgundy. She was later a great influence on her husband’s faith. How she must have prayed when he was baptized! We can imagine she was praying for him long before that battle.
After the death of her husband, Clotilde became renowned as a devout and humble woman. The people trusted her with their troubles and sought in her spiritual guidance until her death in 548.
The first female monarch of the kingdom of Poland, St. Hedwig was also the aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Her father, Louis the Great, arranged for her to marry William of Austria and live in Vienna. When King Louis died, however, plans were changed–and the marriage called off.
In order to appease the Polish people, Hedwig was crowned ‘king of Poland’ on 16 October, 1384. She married the Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1386; he was chosen as her husband in order to please the nobility. A pagan by birth, he signed a pledge to convert to Catholicism in order to marry Hedwig. Legend says that she only agreed to marry him after a great deal of prayer.
Hedwig attended daily Mass and had a great devotion to the Virgin Mary. She had a chalice engraved with a prayer which placed Poland in Our Lady’s protection; that chalice is now in Warsaw Cathedral. In life, she interceded for her people to make their lives better; after she died, many miracles were attributed to her. She was canonized in 1266.