When we think of our ancestors in the Bible, we often think in pairs. Famous couples leap to mind: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Mary and Joseph. But there are single people in the Bible as well. The one who comes most easily to mind is, of course, Jesus. But many of Jesus' friends and disciples were also single: Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, and Lazarus. The apostle Paul was very vocal about the advantages of being single. There are also single people in the Hebrew Scriptures. Miriam, Moses' sister, was single and so were some of the prophets, such as Jeremiah and Elijah.
I see the Bible as the book where most of the wisdom to lead our lives can be found. And so it is possible to find in Scripture clues and suggestions for the single life. Look at the virtues modeled by singles: the initiative of Paul as he traveled through the Roman Empire. Or the wonderful courage of Miriam, who, as a young girl, found a nurse for Moses, and then helped Moses lead the people from Egypt. The generosity of the poor widow who gave most of what she had. The leadership of Lydia, who began the church at Philippi. From Jesus, perhaps the most famous single person in the Bible, we can learn about a life of love, healing, and sacrifice that we, too, can imitate. All these and more model for us the productive, meaningful lives and ministries we can have as single people.
(Excerpted from One Like Jesus—Reflections on the Single Life by Debra K. Farrington, copyright © 1999, Loyola Press. Reprinted by permission of Loyola Press.)
St. Benedict Joseph Labre—April 16
Benedict was the oldest of fifteen children. At eighteen, he went off to join a religious order only to find that he was too young. He tried with two other communities before realizing that his call was not to the priesthood. He spent his life in pilgrimage all over Europe living on alms and helping the poor. He died in 1783.
St. Praxedes—July 21
Praxedes lived during the second century and was known for her kindness and charity toward the poor. As a Roman single woman she cared for those Christians who were being harassed by Emperor Marcus Antoninus. She refused to marry in order to dedicate her life to the poor, persecuted, and suffering.
St. Zita—April 27
Zita lived in Monte Sagrati, Italy, and became the housekeeper of a rich weaver and his family. She stayed with this family for the last forty-eight years of her life and became their trusted friend and advisor. Zita also worked with the poor and those in prison. She died in 1278.
St. Joseph Moscati—April 12
Joseph was a physician and professor who as a bachelor dedicated his life to medicine and his faith. He was known for his cures and gave his wages and skills to the sick and the poor. Joseph died in 1927.
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