When we hear of holy kings and queens, usually they lived long, long ago. Saints like Queen Margaret of Scotland, Queen Elizabeth of Hungary, and King Louis IX of France lived nearly 1,000 years ago, and the stories handed down to us about their lives are steeped in distant, misty legends of the courtly age.
But it turns out that some inspiring saintly royals lived in the modern era of trains, cars, and movies. One famously very holy royal couple lived in the 20th century, one of them until 1989!
Saintly Catholic royals
Perhaps you’ve heard of Blessed Charles of Austria and Servant of God Zita of Bourbon-Parma. The last emperor and empress of Austria, they lived lives of heroic virtue during a tumultuous time.
They were married for only eleven years before Charles died in 1922, but in that time they gratefully welcomed eight children, whom Zita would go on to raise alone. She lived for 67 years after her husband died, and wore black to honor his memory until his death.
I can’t begin to tell you all the incredible and inspiring stories about Charles and Zita. But I can assure you that the more you learn about their lives, the more you will be in awe. A well-researched and well-written book for diving deeper into their story is Blessed Charles of Austria: A Holy Emperor and His Legacy.
Charles and Zita were an extraordinary couple by any measure, and their marriage in particular was a model for Christian couples. The day after their wedding, Charles told Zita, “Now, we must help each other to get to Heaven.”
Honoring their vocation to marriage, the Church chose for their feast day not the dates on which they died, but their wedding day: October 21, 1911.
When they entered into the marriage covenant on their wedding day, they chose to “die to self” every day of their lives. So today’s feast is an important one for married couples, and a perfect opportunity to invoke their powerful intercession.
In honor of saintly Catholic royals Charles and Zita, here are 2 ways to honor their legacy today.
1Pray for your spouse
Charles and Zita were deeply devout Catholics, and prayed for each other throughout their love story. Taking a little time to pray for our spouses is a way to imitate their holy marriage. And we can especially ask for their prayers for our marriages!
2Do something special for your family
The couple were devoted not only to each other but also to their children. They were thoughtful and generous parents to their lively brood. In fact, Charles contracted the illness that led to his death while he was on an errand to purchase toys for his children.
A beautiful way to honor them today would be to do something special for your family or children, such as sitting down to play a game together or playing ball in the yard.