St. Catherine of Sweden Prays for Those Who Have Suffered Miscarriage

Fortified by her faith and trust in God’s will for her life, Catherine chose to serve and to love.

Andrea di Bonaiuto, “Triumph of the Church (Detail),” featuring St. Catherine of Sweden, second from left, with Joan I of Naples and St. Brigid of Sweden
Andrea di Bonaiuto, “Triumph of the Church (Detail),” featuring St. Catherine of Sweden, second from left, with Joan I of Naples and St. Brigid of Sweden (photo: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

A year ago today my husband and I received the news that our little one had passed away in utero. A week prior we’d learned that the baby was not growing on track, but still we had prayed and hoped for a miracle. The miracle was not to be and we went home to grieve our unborn child and care for our two toddlers. That afternoon, as I lay curled on the couch praying for the grace to accept God’s will while my husband tended to our sons, I reached for my phone to look up that day’s saint. I had been begging the intercession of Our Lady and St. Joseph, the patron of the unborn, all week, and I would turn to them many more times in the days to come, but in that moment, I just wanted to be able to ask one more friend in heaven to look out for my little one.

As I pulled up that day’s saint, I smiled. In the midst of my sorrow, I could not help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s mercy. That day was the feast of St. Catherine of Sweden, daughter of St. Bridget of Sweden and the patroness of miscarriage. I had prayed for her intercession before on behalf of friends who had miscarried, but I had never needed to turn to her for myself. Now I silently pleaded for her to pray for me and my baby.

Catherine, although married, never bore or lost a child. She had in fact taken a vow of virginity alongside her husband. After his death in 1349 she traveled widely with her mother, caring for the sick including women who had suffered a miscarriage or lost children to illness. This gentle widow had willingly sacrificed having a family and children who could have comforted her after her beloved husband died. Instead of succumbing to grief and loneliness, she immersed herself in Scripture, composing a devotional entitled “Consolation of the Soul.” Fortified by her faith, and her trust in God’s will for her life, Catherine chose to serve and to love. She nursed the sick and comforted an untold number of broken hearted women. Women who, like me in that moment last year, had prayed for a miracle and were now trying to find a way to accept that the answer to their prayers would look different than they had hoped.

The traditional prayer associated with Catherine reads:

Dear St. Catherine, patron of those who have suffered a miscarriage, you know the dangers that await unborn infants. Please intercede for me that I may receive healing from the loss I have suffered. My soul has been deprived of peace and I have forgotten what true happiness is. As I mourn the loss of my child, I place myself in the hands of God and ask for strength to accept His will in all things, for consolation in my grief, and for peace in my sorrow. Glorious St. Catherine, hear my prayers and ask that God, in good time, grant me a healthy baby who will become a true child of God. Amen.

I do not know what words Catherine used to comfort the grieving women she encountered. I do not know what counsel she provided, or if she merely sat in silence with them as they wept, offering the comfort of a shoulder. But I can imagine how she prayed with and for them, asking God to fill their troubled souls with peace, not only to accept the loss they had suffered, but to open themselves to the chance of bearing life once again. Now, nearly 650 years after her death, she still intercedes for us, praying that we receive the grace to heal from our losses and the grace to surrender our fear and grief to God, trusting completely in his will for our lives and for the lives of our little ones.

St. Catherine of Sweden, pray for us. 

Wilhelm von Kügelgen’s 19th-century painting, “The Visitation,” depicts the encounter between the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth, a patron saint of infertility and pregnancy.

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