The search for your future spouse can feel lonely and intimidating at times.
Whatever happened to the village life of long ago, where you most often met your spouse in childhood, grew up together, married young, and lived happily ever after. Right?
Well, dating pre-industrial revolution may not have been that ideal, but it was certainly simpler. One of the old-world discernment traditions we often neglect in this age of social media is the support of saints who specialize in matchmaking!
I mean it, there are more than a few of our holy friends who love bringing people together. Like St. Anthony, who spends his eternity finding the keys you left in the knife drawer, or the shoes you forgot on the beach, these three saints are determined to build happy, Catholic marriages.
So whether you’re male or female; young or old, these wise, heavenly intercessors are just waiting for you to ask for assistance.
The name of this archangel Raphael (God has healed) does not appear in the Hebrew Scriptures, and in the Septuagint only in the Book of Tobias. Here he first appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of the younger Tobias, calling himself “Azarias the son of the great Ananias”. The story of the adventurous journey during which the protective influence of the angel is shown in many ways including the binding “in the desert of upper Egypt” of the demon who had previously slain seven husbands of Sara, daughter of Raguel, is picturesquely related in Tobit 5-11, to which the reader is referred. After the return and the healing of the blindness of the elder Tobias, Azarias makes himself known as “the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord” (Tob., xii, 15. Cf. Apoc., viii, 2).
Of these seven “archangels” which appear in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, are mentioned in the canonical Scriptures. The others, according to the Book of Enoch (cf. xxi) are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel, while from other apocryphal sources we get the variant names Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel instead of the last three in the other list. Regarding the functions attributed to Raphael we have little more than his declaration to Tobias (Tobit 12) that when the latter was occupied in his works of mercy and charity, he (Raphael) offered his prayer to the Lord, that he was sent by the Lord to heal him of his blindness and to deliver Sara, his son’s wife, from the devil. The Jewish category of the archangels is recognized in the New Testament (I Thess., iv, 15; Jude, 9), but only Gabriel and Michael are mentioned by name. Many commentators, however, identify Raphael with the “angel of the Lord” mentioned in John 5. This conjecture is base both on the significance of the name and on the healing role attributed to Raphael in the Book of Tobias. The Church assigns the feast of St. Raphael to 24 October. The hymns of the Office recall the healing power of the archangel and his victory over the demon. The lessons of the first Nocturn and the Antiphons of the entire Office are taken from the Book of Tobias, and the lessons of the second and third Nocturns from the works of St. Augustine, viz. for the second Nocturn a sermon on Tobias (sermon I on the fifteenth Sunday), and for the third, a homily on the opening verse of John, v. The Epistle of the Mass is taken from the twelfth chapter of Tobias, and the Gospel from John 5:1-4, referring to the pool called Probatica, where the multitude of the infirm lay awaiting the moving of the water, for “an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under”. Thus the conjecture of the commentators referred to above is confirmed by the official Liturgy of the Church.
The first-called Apostle, St. Andrew, is known as the ‘most kindly’ of saints. He’d be thrilled to guide you through times of uncertainty. Just as he introduced his brother, Peter to Christ, Andrew wants to introduce you to your Vocation. He’s straightforward and honest about it too. Andrew’s feast day helps to mark the end of the Church year and because of that, he’s long been considered the saint of ‘fresh starts,’ new resolutions, and all the mysteries of the future.
St. Andrew is particularly famous for helping women find good men. He is always willing to help a man find a worthy wife as well, but his special patronage is in matchmaking for single women.
Perhaps because his name means ‘manly’ or perhaps because he helped Christ’s new Church find Her first pope.
However he came by his matchmaking reputation, Andrew has more than earned it over the years. In Eastern European countries, the night before St. Andrew’s feast was a time to ask the saint for relationship guidance. Singles longing to know when, how, and who they would marry reached out to St. Andrew for answers. Originally, this involved dripping hot wax into a bowl of water, but these days we stick to lighting votives and praying novenas. Start a novena to this gentle saint on November 21st and end on St. Andrew’s Eve; or try the St. Andrew Novena from his feast day until Christmas Eve.
There is nothing not to love about St. Joseph. Christ’s foster father and beloved teacher, St. Joseph is a great friend on the journey towards marriage. Like so many of us on this journey, St. Joseph’s path was full trials, questions, and concerns but he lived them all with faith and grace. Having been chosen specifically to be the Most Chaste Spouse, St. Joseph knows all about the virtues needed for a happy, Grace-filled marriage.
St. Joseph, known for his justice, his purity, and his deep trust in God longs to guide us into a similar faith. He knows how hard it is to have faith that God will work all things to good; and he knows firsthand how gently God does just that in our lives—even when it’s hard to see Him working. Entrusting your dating life or new-found relationship to St. Joseph is the wisest decision you can make.
The devotion of the nine first Wednesdays is a great one to take up to find your vocation. Every Wednesday is sacred to St. Joseph. Dedicating nine first Wednesdays to him particularly will gently entrust your future to him. The devotion is similar to First Fridays: receive Communion, confess if necessary, and if possible, spend some time in adoration.
When he’s helped you find Mr. or Miss Right, be sure to thank him at your wedding. Bring a bouquet of flowers to his statue after the ceremony and ask for his blessing on your marriage. Believe me, he’ll be happy to oblige!
This much neglected saint in the western church is the little matchmaking grandmother you’ve always wanted. She likes to meddle in everything, but she knows the nicest singles, and her meddling is always divinely inspired. Once you let her know you’re seeking a spouse, St. Paraskeva will comfort, encourage, and surprise you.
Paraskeva is one of the virgin martyrs, but long ago she made herself known as a practical saint of domesticity, marriage, and fertility. She’s especially good at finding good wives for single men, but like St. Andrew, she’s always happy to help women as well.
Paraskeva, whose name means Friday or Preparation, is a great help if you’ve been held back from finding your partner in life because of your own reticence or uncertainty.
If you’re struggling to change bad habits and improve yourself for your future spouse, try devoting nine Fridays to St. Paraskeva. Fast or abstain from some busy work, receive Communion, and chose a virtue to focus on for the next week.
If your search for the right someone has been feeling less and less fulfilling, reach out to one—or all!—of these traditional matchmakers. Heaven wants you to fulfill your vocation in life, and if that vocation is marriage, these three saints will work wonders to help you live out your calling. Trust me, there are few things better than finding a beloved friend in the saints.