Some Queer Saints and Martyrs for August

One characteristic feature of the Catholic Church, is the traditional respect paid to the saints and martyrs of the Church. The practice originated simply with honouring as role models the early martyrs. Much later, the practice developed of addressing our prayers through selected saints in heaven as intermediaries. As LGBT Christians, it is appropriate for us also to reflect on those people among the vast multitudes of saints and martyrs, and how they may present useful role models for ourselves in our modern lives.

We must be aware though, that it is often dangerous to designate saints as “gay” or “lesbian”, as those terms are of limited value when applied to people of very different historical conditions, and is misleading when applied to priests and others who have taken vows of celibacy. “Queer” is a more appropriate term which includes all sexual and gender minorities, but is also used here in an ever broader sense. Edith Stein is included here for instance, not because of anything in particular regarding either her sexuality or gender expression, but because after she converted from Judaism to Catholicism, she endured widespread rejection and hostility from the Jewish community that had previously been so important to her.That experience of rejection will resonate with many modern gay, lesbian and trans Christians.

Some female deacons from the early Church are also included, as a reminder that it is not only gay men and lesbians that suffer discrimination in the Catholic Church. All women do too, but this was not always so. The early Church certainly ordained many women deacons, and it is claimed, even some female priests. The possibility of ordaining women deacons is once again becoming widely discussed, so it is appropriate to remember the early examples.

  • Aug 3 rd
    • St Lydia , woman deacon (
  • Aug 5th
    • St Nonna , woman deacon (
  • Aug 13 th


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