Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 20 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

4 Saints who were (good) kings


Dennis Jarvis | CC BY SA 2.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 11/26/17

We don't usually think good thoughts about kings, but these men were different.

In our modern world the kings of old seem rather barbaric and unjust. Americans tend to view kings as oppressive and foreign. Yet, there are many saints in the history of the Catholic Church who were good kings and who tried their best to follow God’s law.

In particular, here are four kings who recognized that their kingship came from God and had a duty to serve the people of their realm with justice and charity.

Louis IX of France

King of France from 1226 – 1270, King Louis is probably the best known royal saint. Among his many achievements, he was a model father and wrote this letter to his son:

My first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. … If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either through vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend him in the matter of his gifts.Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater.

Edward the Confessor

Considered the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, Edward reigned from 1042 – 1066. His reign was marked with peace and prosperity and took a personal vow of chastity. He strove to do what was right and just according to his times and frequently assisted at Mass.

Stephen I of Hungary

Ruler from 1001–1038, he is considered the first King of Hungary. Similar to King Louis, he wrote to his son and advised him to keep the faith.

My dearest son, if you desire to honor the royal crown, I advise, I counsel, I urge you above all things to maintain the Catholic and Apostolic faith with such diligence and care that you may be an example for all those placed under you by God, and that all the clergy may rightly call you a man of true Christian profession. Failing to do this, you may be sure that you will not be called a Christian or a son of the Church. Indeed, in the royal palace, after the faith itself, the Church holds second place, first constituted and spread through the whole world by His members, the apostles and holy fathers, And though she always produced fresh offspring, nevertheless in certain places she is regarded as ancient. However, dearest son, even now in our kingdom the Church is proclaimed as young and newly planted; and for that reason she needs more prudent and trustworthy guardians lest a benefit which the divine mercy bestowed on us undeservedly should be destroyed and annihilated through your idleness, indolence or neglect.

Ladislaus I of Hungary

King of Hungary from 1077–1095, Ladislaus is remembered as a chivalrous king. He was known for his virtuous character and generosity to the poor. He is currently regarded as one of the patron saints of Hungary.

Read more:
Why do we celebrate “Christ the King”?


Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.