St. Adelaide of Burgundy

This impressive 10th-century saint really understood family conflict. She was betrothed at 2, married at 16 and became a widow soon after. She was then imprisoned for refusing a marriage proposal but was rescued by King Otto of Germany, with whom she went on to have a successful marriage for 20 years. After Otto's death she went through one family conflict after another and finally retired to a monastery she had helped to build. Among the turmoil, she was a mom to five, helped the poor, and built monasteries and convents.

St. Leonidas of Alexandria

As father to 7 sons, including the philosopher Origen, St. Leonidas would surely appreciate the complexities of family squabbles. The wealthy layman was beheaded for his faith at the beginning of the 3rd century, leaving his family destitute until a well-off Christian lady came to their rescue.

St. Margaret of Scotland

On fleeing William the Conqueror in 1066, Margaret and her family were shipwrecked on the Scottish coast. King Malcolm III came to their rescue and married Margaret 3 years later. Among their subsequent 8 offspring, 2 became saints. Margaret used her position for the good of others by founding abbeys, fighting injustices, and helping the poor. The "Pearl of Scotland" is a great example of combining both family and spiritual life.

St. Clotilde

This saint from Lyon (in modern-day France) married a pagan king, Clovis of the Francs, at the end of the 5th century. Their union produced five children, whom Clotilde was determined to see raised as Catholics. After much persuasion she managed not only to baptize her kids, but also to convert her husband to Catholicism. She used her position to help spread Catholicism throughout western Europe. Once widowed, she dedicated herself to founding churches and monasteries.

Blessed Dorothy of Montau

This 14th-century Prussian certainly understands the hardships of family life. Married to a difficult man, she gave birth to nine children, eight of whom died in early childhood. The devoted Catholic had mystical experiences, which often led her to neglect her housework and become victim to her husband's beatings. Despite her ordeals, her faith never waned. She returned from a 10-month pilgrimage to Rome to find her husband had died. She sent her only surviving daughter to a convent and cloistered herself for the remaining year of her life.

St. Nicholas of Flüe

This father of 10 children was a 15th century Swiss councilor and judge. His wisdom was instrumental in uniting present-day Switzerland and faith was an integral part of his life. During a career in the army he was said to fight with a sword in one hand and rosary in the other. After a vision he asked his wife if she would support his decision to lead a hermit's life. With her approval, the pious man survived on just the Eucharist for 19 years, but in death he was surrounded by his family.