Was there ever a saint who, while living, convinced his or her spouse to enter religious life?

  • 1
    You may check out tertullian.org/fathers/gregory_04_dialogues_book4.htm#C11, Chapter Eleven of the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great: ``of the Departure of a Priest's soul, called Ursinus.'' --- Not sure if he was ever canonized, but a holy man who was visited by Ss. Peter and Paul shortly before his death, and who was being called by the holy Apostles, presumably to Heaven.
    – user60376
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 2:58
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    would this even be possible? I don't believe the Catholic Church would allow such things to happen while both couples were alive, unless this happened post-death of the saint.
    – Luke Hill
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 3:09
  • Also, part of the Ursinus (Orsinus) story is related by St. Alphonsus Liguori on p. 253 of "Dignity and Duties of the Priest or Selva". ia804500.us.archive.org/24/items/alphonsusworks12liguuoft/…
    – user60376
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 3:15
  • @LukeHill Yes, see: "Are Catholics allowed to leave marriage in order to become a monk or nun?".
    – Geremia
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 2:58
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    As I noted in the first comment, I'm not sure---but his holiness of life seems to have been evident. As for canonized Saints, perhaps one should not overlook the very first ones---the holy Apostles, who were, as far as I recall, all married (with the exception of St. John, and possibly St. Paul) and though it is unlikely they had their wives' permission to become the first bishops, Tradition tells us that they all became celibate.
    – user60376
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 3:48

3 Answers 3


I'm certain the answer is yes, as I've seen such biographies in "lives of the saints" volumes. Saint Waldetrudis (d.686-688) and her husband Saint Vincent most likely fit your criteria. This is from Catholic Exchange:

Their home was a place of sanctity. Waldetrudis and Maldegaire [Vincent] had four children, one of whom died young, either soon after birth or before he reached his seventh birthday, while the other three grew up and entered the religious life (their son, St. Landric, may have even been consecrated a bishop). Waldetrudis and Maldegaire used their riches to help the poor; the couple was well known for their charity and piety long before entering the religious life.


Once their children had left the home, the pious parents likewise entered the religious life. Some sources indicate that Waldetrudis urged her husband to embrace monasticism, though he likely considered it prior to her influence.

Here are a couple of other cases that you might count as examples:

  • Jacopone da Todi -- Not canonized, but venerated among Franciscans. He was a worldly and greedy man, and his young wife secretly did penance for his sins. When she died in an accident, he discovered that she had been wearing a hairshirt. Her secret sacrifice for him motivated his conversion and eventual entry into the Fransiscans.

  • Saint Cunegunda, Empress and wife of Holy Roman Emperor, Saint Henry II. She had taken a vow of virginity and convinced Henry to make a vow of celibacy as well. They are both saints.

  • Did St. Cunegund enter a convent?
    – Geremia
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 3:00
  • 1
    I added "while living" to my answer to rule out the stories similar to Jacopone da Todi's (St. Nicholas of Flüe's is another).
    – Geremia
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 3:01

St. Conrad of Piacenza and his wife Eufrosina entered religious life after making amends for having a fire started that accidentally burned down a forest and then blaming someone else for it.


Elliott, Spiritual Marriage: Sexual Abstinence in Medieval Wedlock appendix 7 lists several couples who separated in order to enter religious life:

Instances of Separation to Enter Religious Communities

source: "Are Catholics allowed to leave marriage in order to become a monk or nun?"

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