Got a Favorite Disney Princess? Meet Your New Favorite Saint.

If there’s one thing I know about kids, it’s that they can be remarkably single-minded. From an hour-long tantrum inspired by tyrannical authorities switching off an electronic device to the uncanny ability to make every conversation about Spiderman, once they fixate, they may be stuck for years.

Which is why we need to get them focused on the right things. Superheroes and construction vehicles are all well and good, but we who are blessed to be part of a 2000-year-old Church have much more to offer our children than Doc McStuffins and Paw Patrol.

What if your kids loved the Saints as much as they love fictional characters? What if they wanted to dress like Isaac Jogues and Catherine of Siena instead of (or in addition to) Batman and Elsa? I’ve been doing my part to share these stories, but it occurred to me that it would help if you used the obsessions they already have to draw them into the lives of the Saints. And since Disney princesses aren’t so very different from Princess Saints, I thought we’d start there. Scroll through to find your (or your child’s) favorite Disney Princess/Lady-who’s-cool-enough-to-be-a-princess and check out the Saint who might be your new bestie.

disney-saints-2

cinderella-germaineCinderella: St. Germaine

I honestly wonder if St. Germaine wasn’t the inspiration for Cinderella. After her mother died when she was a baby, Germaine’s father remarried, a horrid woman named Hortense who deserved her name. She was terribly abusive to her stepdaughter, refusing to feed her, pouring boiling water on her, and laughing when her children put ashes in Germaine’s food. Like Cinderella, Germaine was sweet as can be imagined, sharing what little she had with beggars and even finding it in herself to forgive her stepmother. Like Cinderella, she was rescued from her life of suffering servitude to be wed to a prince, though her happily ever after came through her death at 22, when she was married to the King of Kings; 40 years later, her body was exhumed and discovered to be incorrupt.

rapunzel-barbaraRapunzel: St. Barbara

Like Rapunzel, the beautiful St. Barbara was locked in a tower for years to protect her from her many expected suitors. What her pagan father didn’t expect was that her long hours staring out the window at creation would turn her mind to the creator of all things, convincing her (through the use of her senses and reason) that pagan idols are worthless. She devoted her life to the pursuit of wisdom, refusing all the suitors her father had finally allowed to come calling. Realizing that he’d messed her up, he let her out of the tower to try to make her normal again and was more than a little dismayed when she met several Christians and decided to be baptized. When she began to witness to her father, he rushed upon her with a sword. Despite miraculously avoiding him several times, she was eventually captured, tortured, and martyred by her own father. (Don’t worry, he was struck by lightning shortly afterward.)

pocohontas-kateriPocahontas: St. Kateri Tekakwitha

Okay, so you probably don’t need help to make this connection; it’s basically just their ethnicity. But while Kateri wasn’t as hot as Pocahontas or as loved by raccoons, she’s more of a true heroine than Pocahontas could ever be–even if you read the real story and not the Disney rom-com. Kateri was born to a Christian mother and a pagan father who both died when she was four. The same smallpox epidemic that killed them left her disfigured and nearly blind, in the care of an uncle who despised Christians. She suffered throughout her life for her faith as people spread rumors about her, ridiculed her, and refused her food on Sundays when she was unwilling to work. Finally, she escaped to a Christian village, walking 200 miles so that she could live with the Sacraments, embracing a vow of virginity and a life of prayer. When she died at 24, her pockmarked face was cleared and those who looked at her dead body saw her as radiantly beautiful.

belle-catherineBelle: St. Catherine of Alexandria

Every girl I’ve ever known who loved Belle loved her because of books. And nobody loved books like Catherine of Alexandria, a pagan princess in Egypt who refused to marry because she was too busy reading. As suitors sought to win her and remained unable to distract her from reading, a hermit came by and promised her a man who knew more than was contained in all her books. Catherine was interested in this and allowed the hermit to tell her about Jesus. Entranced, Catherine offered her life and her hand in marriage to the king of kings. When the Roman emperor heard this, he tried to convince her of the error of her ways by sending 150 of the world’s greatest philosophers to debate her; Catherine convinced every one (and the emperor’s wife) of the truth of the Gospel and was eventually martyred herself.

jasmine-casildaJasmine: St. Casilda

The Moors didn’t dress like Jasmine, but neither did whatever culture she’s supposed to be from. In any event, both Jasmine and Casilda are from Muslim countries, so we’ll call it good. The Muslim daughter of a Moorish king, Casilda knew nothing about Christianity until she met Christians imprisoned for their faith and heard the joy they had found in the love of Christ. She longed to become a Christian but her father threatened her with imprisonment, so it seemed there was nothing she could do. Her longing for Christ was so strong that she began to waste away, consumed by an illness no medicine could cure. Finally, her father consented to send her to a healing spring in a Christian country, where Casilda was healed and then baptized. Unable to return home, she became a hermit and lived to be 100.

tiana-henrietteTiana: Ven. Henriette Delille 

Like Tiana, Henriette Delille was a New Orleans-born woman of color (though we wouldn’t know it to look at her) who worked to earn her place in the world. The great-great-granddaughter of a slave, Henriette belonged to an elite class of African-Americans whose daughters were expected to become mistresses to white men. Refusing to submit to such an ungodly arrangement, Henriette founded the Sisters of the Holy Family, a religious community made up of other educated, intelligent women of color. She spent the rest of her life working with the sick and poor, particularly in the African-American community.

mulan-joanMulan: St. Joan of Arc

If you’re drawn to Mulan because she’s Asian, you’ve got a whole host of Saints to choose from. But if it’s the strong femininity/leading men in battle thing, look no further than St. Joan of Arc. (Actually, feel free to look further to the book of Judith. She’s a boss.) It seems silly even to summarize her story, as I’m sure you know that she was a French peasant girl to whom the voices of St. Michael, St. Margaret, and St. Catherine of Alexandria (see above) spoke. She was told to lead France to victory in the Hundred Years War. Unlike Mulan, Joan was not seeking to impersonate a man–her strength lay in her ability to serve the Lord as a woman, even though he called her to an unusual role. As with Mulan, her story ends gloriously in fire, though Joan didn’t walk away from her fire. Always a hero to France, it took 500 years before she was canonized by the universal church.

merida-margaretMerida: St. Margaret of Scotland

A queen of Scotland is the obvious choice for Merida, but it helps that St. Margaret also had rather a strong personality. She entered Scotland a shipwrecked princess and proceeded to refuse marriage for several years before consenting to marry King Malcom. As queen, she managed to introduce courtly manners to the less-than-couth Scottish nobles. She also brought the Church in Scotland out of a near schism, washed the feet of beggars every day in Advent and Lent, prayed like a nun, and raised eight children, one of whom went on to become a Saint himself. But mostly it’s the Scottish thing.

jane-helenaJane: St. Helena

Though not exactly a princess, Jane (of Tarzan fame) is quite the compelling character. She’s intelligent, brave, and adventurous, just like St. Helena, mother of the Roman emperor Constantine. Having witnessed the degradation of Christianity at the hands of the Roman nobility, Helena traveled to the Holy Land at an advanced age to search for the True Cross. That makes her an empress, an adventurer, and an archaeologist–no dainty, decorative princess here.

megara-pulcheriaMegara: St. Pulcheria

Meg’s always been a favorite of mine, and it’s not just the name. She’s sassy, cynical, and single, just like me! Take out the selling-your-soul-to-the-devil thing, and we’re a perfect match. But it’s her intelligence that has me pairing her with St. Pulcheria, a woman who reigned as empress in Constantinople not because of her marriage but because of her brilliance. She ruled along with her brother the emperor until his death, at which point they asked her to continue in her position. A consecrated virgin, Pulcheria always made prayer her top priority, even in the midst of important affairs of state. This prayerfulness gave her such wisdom in divine things that Pope St. Leo the Great asked her to speak before the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in order to help the bishops better understand the nature of Christ. A woman like that could outsmart the devil himself.

esmeralda-catherineEsmeralda: Bl. Catherine Jarrige

Unfortunately, the only gypsy on the path to canonization is a man (Bl. Ceferino), but a woman who loved to dance when she was young and spent her adulthood deceiving corrupt agents of the state sounds like a good match for Esmeralda. Bl. Catherine served the poor as a third order Dominican (kind of a lay nun) but is best known for her work to protect priests during the anti-clerical French Revolution. She would sometimes pretend to be a drunken vagrant to distract the authorities and is said to have saved thousands of priests from the guillotine through her quick wit and acting ability. (Click the link–she’s fantastic.)

As for the others, I’m at a loss. There are obviously no mermaid Saints, no Saints who slept for 100 years, no Saints who lived with seven dwarves, and no ice-magic-working Saints (though St. Catherine of Sweden was at least a Nordic queen). For Ana and Elsa, you could try Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, since at least they come in a pair? But a very different pair. Sleeping Beauty could be Jairus’ daughter from Mark chapter 5.1 I bet there are some good medieval legends that could supply us with some alternatives, but for now we’ll just have to steer our girls away from Ariel (because she’s the worst) to better princesses and marvelous Saints.

So there you have it, friends What other suggestions would you make?

  1. This was my niece’s favorite Bible story because I would wrap her up in a sheet, pretend she was dead, then say, “Little girl, arise!” and hold one end of the sheet while she spun out. It’s not pink and blue fairies, but it was always good for a laugh. []

About Meg

I'm a Catholic, madly in love with the Lord, His Word, His Bride the Church, and especially His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. I'm committed to the Church not because I was raised this way but because the Lord has drawn my heart and convicted my reason. After 2 degrees in theology and 5 years in the classroom, I quit my 9-5 to follow Christ more literally. Since May of 2012, I've been a hobo for Christ; I live out of my car and travel the country speaking to youth and adults, giving retreats, blogging, and trying to rock the world for Jesus.
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30 Responses to Got a Favorite Disney Princess? Meet Your New Favorite Saint.

  1. Lindsay says:

    THANK YOU!! I love this. As a mother, I hate all this consumerism with kids being marketed all new clothes and toys whenever the latest Disney movie comes out. And even more, I know I was a child prone to obsession and I wish I had been steered to think on more noble things for so many years!

  2. Angie says:

    This is so awesome!! I plan on going over this with my kiddos for all saints day! I love it! Thx!!

  3. AnneMarie says:

    I love this!!!! The saints are the BEST. Fun fact: when I was little, there were 2-3 years in a row when I dressed up as St. Kateri for Halloween and All Saints Day. I was majorly obsessed with learning about Native Americans at that time, so naturally, St. Kateri devotion came along with that 🙂 I have never heard of Bl. Catherine Jarrige before, and she sounds like the bomb. Hmm. I’ll have to think it over and see if I can come up with any additional princess-saint matchups, and I’ll let you know if I manage to think of anything.
    AnneMarie recently posted…It is Time to Let Go of FearMy Profile

  4. Kendra says:

    Oh my goodness, how perfect! Now I need to go update my just-posted-post with a link to this!

  5. Kendra says:

    And a-MEN about Ariel. Let’s steer our daughters to the actual Hans Christian Andersen story, so that when they go to the beach and see foam they can say, “Look, Mom! Dead mermaids!”
    Kendra recently posted…All Saints’ Day Costume Backlash: only neat and tidy saints need apply?My Profile

    • Caroline says:

      The Hans Christian Andersen Little Mermaid is such a beautiful story, with a great heroine- I’m sure she could be compared to many saints! She wanted eternal life (mermaids did not have eternal souls though they lived many years longer than humans), gave up her own life for that of another, and by her true love and goodness, earned herself the eternal soul she sought after in the first place!

  6. Can’t wait for my daughter to read this!!

  7. Liz Waring says:

    This is fantastic and so fun, thank you!

  8. Sarah says:

    Re: Snow White– no gooseberry pies, but what about Saint Martha or St. Elizabeth of Hungary (cleaning, cooking, hospitality, feeding the poor)? Or St. Zita

  9. Mary says:

    Loved this.
    Don’t forget St Audrey (Etheldreda) the princess!!

  10. Kathy says:

    What is wrong with Ariel? Please explain.

  11. I just love this! ❤️

  12. Adelaide says:

    For Elsa and Anna there’s St. Clare of Assisi and St. Agnes of Assisi. They were sisters (Clare the older and Agnes the younger). Clare ran away from home to become a Franciscan and then Agnes followed her sixteen days later. Agnes was beaten by armed men sent by their father to bring her back, but due to the miraculous efforts of St. Clare she was not taken back to their father. That kind of draws parallels to how elder sister Elsa ran away from home and then younger sister Anna followed her, and then a bad man nearly kills Anna but sister Elsa magically saves her.

  13. Adelaide says:

    For Princess Aurora/Sleeping Beauty maybe you could use St. Rosa of Lima. Like Aurora (who was called Briar Rose), St. Rose (who was originally named Isabel) was so beautiful she was called a Rose. St. Rose opposed her parents’ plan for her to marry, just like Aurora opposed her parents’ plan for her to marry. Her parents eventually relented and she was able to join the Third Order of St. Dominic, thus marrying the man she truly desired (Jesus Christ, Lord of Truth and Virtue), just as Aurora was able to marry Phillip, who carries the Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue. St. Rose kept herself cloistered in her room, spending long periods in prayer. She slept only two hours per night so as to have more time for prayer. Aurora was also cloistered in a room and had an unusual sleeping pattern. Finally, St. Rose wore a heavy silver crown with spikes that could pierce her flesh and reminded her of the Crown of Thorns. Aurora also was pricked by something sharp (a spindle) that caused her anguish.

  14. Adelaide says:

    And for Ariel, maybe St. Lucy would be a good counter (because Ariel IS the worst). Ariel (since she’s terrible) defied her father and gave up a part of her body (her tail) in order to be with a man. St. Lucy, on the other hand, in obedience to her vow of virginity, gave up a part of her body (her eyes, because a suitor admired them) rather than marry a man.

    Or there’s St. Cecilia who is the patron saint of musicians and was said to have sung in her heart to God on her wedding day. Ariel was a great singer and a lot of little girls admire her for that. Also, St. Cecilia’s husband, Valerian, was able to see the angel guarding her virginity after he traveled to the third milestone on the Via Appia. Likewise, Eric was able to see that Ariel was a mermaid and hear her voice after the third day of her transformation.

    St. Lucy and St. Cecilia are GREAT antidotes to Ariel!!

  15. Lis says:

    This is so amazing on so many different levels! Having grown up seeped in Disney movies, I love this so much, especially Mulan. She has never been a favorite of mine, but now that she’s measured up there with St. Joan of Arc, she totally rocks. 😉

    Thanks for using your creativity for such a great cause!

  16. Adelaide says:

    For Snow White I love the suggestion of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, but you could also do any of the incorruptible saints, since their bodies are now in glass coffins. St. Bernadette Soubirous is an incorruptible saint who would be particularly appropriate because she was poor and worked hard like Snow White, and she is associated with the grotto/spring/well at Lourdes and Snow White is associated with the wishing well.

  17. Sussette Webster says:

    Wait. I need Sleeping Beauty aka Aurora aka Briar Rose. Her story opens with her baptism. She has to have an affiliated Saint. 😉

  18. Amanda says:

    I love this idea! My girls would totally get a kick out of these. In fact, maybe it will help my oldest choose a confirmation saint in a year or two here 🙂

  19. Anne says:

    I’d never heard of several (Casilda, Pulcheria, Bl. Catherine) of these sainted and holy women. Thanks for introducing them to me!

  20. Excellent post! Sharing with ALL my friends! Moms group too!

  21. tmcgsfr says:

    Great choices for comparing! Including the comments as well; love it!

    I would suggest for Snow White as being parallel to Our Lady. She is forced to leave the castle and take refuge with the dwarves; whereas I’m sure Our Lady became a fugitive in the care of the apostles considering Christians were frowned upon by the Jews especially in Jerusalem right after Christ’s death(aka Snow White’s father the king).
    The sleep of Snow White is similar to the Dormition of Our Lady. The dwarves are saddened by Snow White’s “death”; I’m sure the apostles were heart broken to be without Our Lady. Snow White is awakened and taken to the castle to be with her prince; whereas Our Lady is assumed into heaven to be with her son the one true king.

  22. Erin says:

    While Ariel may not correlate to a saint, I find many other Christian correlations. Ursula is the devil, tricking people with promises of happiness and then trapping them forever. Triton is like God… A king who takes his doomed daughter’s destiny upon himself, only to defeat evil and emerge triumphant again as king. I watched the movie recently for the first time in probably 25 years, and was absolutely astounded that Disney would produce something so obviously Christian!

  23. Dear Meg,

    Thank you so much for this blog and for everything you have written about ( especially the elections).
    My 5 year old daughter relishes stories of saints and I almost have exhausted my resources ( until of course you came along with your delightful blog )
    Here is my blog recounting some of my little ones insights!!!

    https://tonynpriya.blogspot.com/

    I’ve been a missionary myself in a very difficult place – will be so happy to meet you if you do come along to Connecticut.

    God bless you,
    Priya

  24. Meg says:

    Thanks Meg, I’m Meg, and Single, so I was loving your comparison of Megara and St. Pulcheria.
    Sharing with our American Heritage Girls troop as further work on Daughter of the King badge, they are all going to dressed as their favorite Disney Princess as we share this info with them. Great article! Thank you!

  25. Elizabeth says:

    I love this!! Totally going to read more about these Godly women!!! I’ve always wanted to be a princess.

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