Don’t Forget Widows & Widowers


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Single Catholics are a widely varied crowd. We span across a wide range of ages and relationship statuses. One group of members that often gets overlooked are our widows and widowers.

These members are a unique and special group. Having sustained a loss of the most painful type, they are strong and resilient. They already understand the joys and challenges of marriage, and they have a level of maturity and poise that others may not. Yet they are sometimes overlooked as eligible singles. Not sure why, as they are free to marry again in the Church. Perhaps never-marrieds are intimidated. Maybe some feel there is too much of a burden in trying to fill a dearly departed’s shoes. Whatever the reasons, I think widows and widowers have a lot to offer.

With this in mind, I set out to search for a patron saint of the widowed for my Year of the Saints project. And here we have St. Aurea of Cordoba, Spain.

She was born to a family of prominent and wealthy Moors, and her father was a practicing Muslim. However, she lived in secrecy with her mother, an Abbess in a convent after her two brothers, Sts. Adolphus and John, were martyred.

She left the convent and married. However, soon after her husband died, she returned to the convent, converted fully and took the veil. As a widow, she dedicated her life to the Church, much to the ire of her family. In fact, when they discovered her in the convent, they brought her to a judge for practicing Christianity. She was forced to renounce her faith. But her dedication was too strong, and she soon returned to the convent. Upon the second discovery by her family, she was martyred.

There is a lot we can learn from St. Aurea’s life. First, she understood her marital status not as a loss, but an opportunity. She immediately fled to the church as a newly-widowed woman. From here we can see that along with her mourning and suffering, she chose to channel her energies into a positive outlet: her faith. We can learn from this whenever we experience a loss of any kindbe it the death of a spouse, parent, child or pet. Who better to turn to in the darkness of mourning but our Heavenly Father?

There is no question that widows and widowers have an extremely difficult time, filled with suffering and devastating loss. Just as St. Aurea chose to immerse herself in her faith, widowers and widows can immerse themselves in a community of the faithful for camaraderie, friendship, prayer, encouragement and yes, even love. In St. Aurea we can find the strength, resiliency and fortitude to remember and move forward with our lives.

Another thing that we can learn from her life is her commitment to her faith. Yes, she renounced her Christianity in front of a judge, but imagine the pressure she was under. With a death threat hanging over her, it is understandable that she renounced her faith. But she soon returned. And that is what matters.

One experience many widows and widowers may have is in questioning their faith. How could God take away the love of their lives? Why does God want so much loss and suffering? Many may find themselves tempted to renounce their faith upon finding no answers to such impossible questions. Yet, like St. Aurea,  there is always the chance to return. The Church is always waiting with open arms for the repentant, and for those who questioned their faith and found solace in coming back.

St. Aurea’s feast day is July 19. On that day, remember all those who have lost their beloveds but remained immersed in their faith. God bless you all!






26 Comments

  1. Gail-1067763 July 18, 2014 Reply

    Thanks, Cate for this posting. As a 63 year old widow I feel sometimes forgotten by the church and this website. My faith remained strong after my husband’s death in part because he was suffering from Lou Gerhig’s disease and I believe God has taken him home to a much better place. I do get disheartened at times however in dealing with the loneliness after being happily married since I was 20. Even though I have a strong support group with family and friends, their lives goes on as “normal” where your world is totally turned upside down from the time you wake up until you toss & turn in bed at night. I was hoping to reach out to a widower who might be supportive and understanding of the situation but as you’ve noticed (thank you) I feel overlooked here even amongst those looking for a Catholic long term relationship.
    I’ll be saying a special prayer to St. Aurea tomorrow on her feast day to give me some insight or direction in my situation.

  2. Grace-1013439 July 18, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Lou Gerthings’s letter. It is true what she is saying, where are the true Catholic men, who are honest, faithful, sincerely, loving gone?

    I have been looking for one, but never seen any at all. Not giving up, still looking, one day my God who is kind to widows and widower will lead me.

    Lou I do share the same feeling my dear.
    God bless all.

  3. Marge-938695 July 18, 2014 Reply

    I hate the idea that widow(er)s should remain “true to their great love”.
    I hate the idea that widowhood is something contagious.
    I hate the idea that a new love will constantly be measured against the lost love.
    I hate the belief that we ask why God took the other person: let’s get real, one of you has to go first, sooner or later! The real sadness is when it’s sooner.
    I hate that people forget that those of us with happy marriages know how it works — very short learning curve!
    I hate that people don’t realize that the first sharp pains of loss do eventually subside. I’m not mourning any more. I really AM available, legally, spiritually, emotionally.

  4. Connie-1035188 July 18, 2014 Reply

    I believe your article in quite true. It’s sad to have so many views, however being a widower with children I tend to be over looked. It’s even sad to experience saying hello and not receiving many responses. Little do they know of my strength, resilience and coping skills and that I have taken care of myself and my children on my own for a long time and don’t require them to take care of us. Widowers are not looking for someone to take care of them – they have experienced love and marriage and would love to experience the beauty of it again. So I choose not to feel sorry for myself and my situation, however I try and encourage and pray for others on this site. Sometimes people need someone to talk to so I respond to any/all of my hellos and messages even though they may not be what I’m looking for, because it’s nice to be acknowledged. Cause saying hello and wishing them well in their search doesn’t hurt.

  5. Ruthann-579700 July 19, 2014 Reply

    It is a funny thing…. I think being widowed is a definate negative for a single woman. I don’t think being a widower is such a negative for a single man. It is as if men have a pact that they will not date other men’s wives, even if they are dead. Maybe I’ll just say that my husband broke our marriage vows (he died on me).

    Sorry for the dark humor….

    • William-1092956 July 22, 2014 Reply

      I lost my wife Sept 15, 2013 I am looking for a woman whose lost her husband to death .Because we know how the other fells . And a person who has not lost there mate to death they might have a lot of luggage

  6. Kimberlie-1059215 July 19, 2014 Reply

    Yes, widows can often feel forgotten, but it can be even more disheartening if you are a widow and still raising children. Men often assume you just want a father for your children and a paycheck for the bank. I think that all women go through a time when they become of mother of feeling like they aren’t perceived as being a “woman” any more but just a mom. Having a spouse helped me to remember that I didn’t just have a vocation to motherhood but I had a marriage vocation and in fact that came first. Now, there are weeks when I feel as though all I am seen as is a mother and a single mother at that. Finding a new love isn’t as much about my children as it is about me finding a best friend, lover, and companion in life, and about remembering that I am, in fact, more than just a mom.

    Also, my friends and some parishioners don’t understand why I don’t hang out with them anymore but they fail to understand that finding childcare, and paying for it in addition to whatever activity we are going to do, is a hardship to me. People offer their opinions and advice but most often fail to ask, “what do you need?” “How can I help you?”

    • Ruthann-579700 July 19, 2014 Reply

      What I am beginning to dread even more is the time when my children are grown and I am relegated to “Church Lady” status….

      • Connie-1035188 July 19, 2014 Reply

        Ruthann you make me laugh. You have a great sense of humour, and I agree with what your saying.

  7. Ginny-1111618 July 19, 2014 Reply

    For some reason I wish there was another label for us widows. The word widow seems to come across as a very old woman wearing black with a beak nose. And worse if youre a widow raising young children. Now ur a poor old widow who needs help raising her children in a shoe. Fortunately, I am blessed enough that I am able to care for my children by myself. I don’t need sympathy but empathy. I think the single men out there are thinking widows need them to raise their children financially but in reality, they are needed to be a father figure for these children. We need love,support and companionship like countless other women out there.

  8. Jeanette-1112251 July 19, 2014 Reply

    Really would be nice to find a nice gentleman to do things with.My family is all out of state.I have some wonderful neighbors, It would be nice to have someone special again.I had a wonderful husband I’ll always Love & miss him would love to find someone that had a wonderful relationship but is looking to go on with life with a new special person,not one to take the others place but to go on & enjoy what life is left & be important to each other.

  9. Rafael-1109751 July 21, 2014 Reply

    To my widower and widow friends, here is something I say to myself

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
    Courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

    God has a plan for us. Sometimes we are impatient and want to know. Just hang in. :)

    • Gail-1067763 July 21, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Rafael, for your words of encouragement to widows and widowers! The serenity prayer has also been one of my favorites for a long time now. Guess all of us w & w’s just need to vent now and then besides praying for guidence, love and wisdom. I am glad Cate started the discussion off with her article and we all had a chance to discuss our feelings!

      • Rafael-1109751 July 22, 2014 Reply

        Hi Gail,

        I think we widows and widowers are fortunate. I like to think – better to have love and lost than to have never loved at all. I thank god everyday for giving me this. I know the feeling of discouragement and neglect. I get overlooked… That’s fine.
        Move forward and pray and have faith. Like I say God has a plan for each of use, we hold some of life’s puzzle pieces but he sees the big picture.

        • Gail-1067763 July 22, 2014 Reply

          Hey Rafael, I viewed your profile and see what a wonderful family guy you are. I’m much older than you and my sons, who are about your age, have young families of their own also and I think that helps.
          I was married at age 20 so it’s been extremely difficult for me to adjust after 40 years of being happily married. I do have faith that if it’s part of God’s plan, I will meet the right guy to partner in my life again. I’m making some changes in my life to move forward right now like moving to a 55+ community for more social activities and joining CM to hopefully meet Catholic singles. I have a ways to go before I’d consider myself “fortunate” but as I’ve already said, just knowing there are others going through the same thing is a big help to me.
          Blessings,
          Gail

  10. Mary-1057416 July 21, 2014 Reply

    I don’t have any problem with the possibility of meeting someone who has been widowed. In fact, I would respect the fact that they have gone through something incredibly painful, the loss of their spouse, who meant so very much to them. I don’t think this is something anyone would fully recover from either and I wouldn’t expect them to forget that person. At the same time. I admire them for having the courage to step out and risk love all over again for another special someone in their lives.

  11. Carol-883104 July 22, 2014 Reply

    I am an active 71 year old retiree. I lost my sole mate of 45 years 9 years ago this October. I dated a man for 5 years who was my neighbors brother. I also lost him to cancer. Where does one my age meet someone for companionship without going to a bar? I go to mass, bible studies and the beach but don’t have much of a social life. Most of my friends are married & do couple things. I still dearly miss my husband.

  12. Kathy-996931 July 23, 2014 Reply

    I am a 62 year old widow. I lost my husband 7 years ago this October. My mom lost my dad that same year in June. She lives with me and will be 94 in September. She is also an orphan. She went to a Catholic Orphanage, St Joseph, at age 9, I am blessed with the rich faith she has to offer to me and those she meets.
    I have been off and on Catholic Match for almost 5 years. It is very difficult to meet people. It seems when I do meet men, they run the other way, never bother to say why or good bye. I am trying to be patient in finding someone special. I know what I want is too be married again, to find someone who will be an example with me promoting marriage to couples of all ages. Reading the article and the postings has helped me. I like the idea of using this time as an opportunity to grow in my faith. I now have a new saint, St. Aurea, along with St. Joseph, to pray to for help in accepting where I am right now and help in finding that special someone.

  13. Ken-1100077 July 23, 2014 Reply

    As a widower I find widows the best option for me! We have lived out our Covenant with God and our Spouses. I am not looking to “replace” what I have lost, I am looking to gain what I have not found.
    Peace Everyone

    • Walter-533749 September 5, 2014 Reply

      Ken, I agree with you. That seems to be a very difficult option. I see that most of the comments to this article are from women. Are there other men out there that are widowers?

  14. Albert-1094571 August 17, 2014 Reply

    I am 88yrs old so I may be the oldest member in CM which may be the reason I get few replies to my messages. That,plus some lower back arthritis are my only problems. Is there any one out there who feels 88 is just a number?

  15. JamesJim-1109630 August 21, 2014 Reply

    IS there a widow / widowers groups in the Brandon, Valrico, Tampa, Florida?

  16. JamesJim-1109630 August 21, 2014 Reply

    Is there any widow / widower groups in the Brandon, Valrico, Tampa ,Florida area?

  17. Lorie-1125247 August 25, 2014 Reply

    As a recent widow learning to live again, this is a breath of fresh air and scary all at the same time. I feel my heart opening up to the possibility that God has another mate for me….I in turn, have to have patience and trust in His timing.

  18. Mary-1005998 September 2, 2014 Reply

    As an older widow, I would much rather take a chance on a widower than a never-married or divorced person. At least we have shown that we have what it takes to make a marriage work.

  19. Richard-803953 September 7, 2014 Reply

    I am a widower of 6yrs and have had no luck with single Catholic women or widows. I was married to a beautiful Lady for 22ys but I know that God has someone for me. Like James 1109630 I’d love to find a widow/widowers group in my area.

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