We often think our children have to “grow up” before they can pursue a career, choose a vocation, or “do something” with their lives. The truth is that many great saints have done great things for God even as children. This is a list of 100 cool saints for young Catholics—girls and boys who have served God in remarkable ways before their 35th birthdays.
Some of these young people were martyrs who stood up for their faith. Others felt God’s call on their life at an early age, and responded to it. Some had visions of angels, Jesus, or His Blessed Mother. Others gave themselves to fasting, prayer or penances. These children, teens, and young adults knew God’s love in a real way and responded with their whole hearts.
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Child Saints (under 12)
St. Paulus Lang Fu — Paulus was 7 when he was martyred during the Boxer Rebellion in China.
St. Cessianus — Cessianus was 8 when he was martyred by the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
The Fatima Children — Jacinta and Francisco Marto were only 7 and 9 when Our Lady of Fatima appeared to them in six visions over six months. They prayed the rosary and practiced self-mortification as Our Lady requested. Their feast day is February 20. Recommended biography: The Children of Fatima (Saints Lives)
Blessed Imelda Lambertini — Imelda entered the local Dominican convent at the age of 9. During a miracle on the Feast of the Ascension when Imelda was 11, Jesus himself gave Imelda Holy Communion and then took her to heaven with him.
Saint Andreas Wang Tianqing — Andreas was 9 when anti-Christian rioters entered his village, burned the church, and rounded up all the Christians. He refused to recant his faith and was killed with many others.
Saints Alodia and Nunilo — these sisters were born of a Christian mother and Muslim father. They chose their mother’s faith, and when their Muslim stepfather turned them over to the Spanish authorities, they were beheaded for refusing to deny their faith.
St. Crescentius — Crescentius was 11 when he stood trial in Rome for his faith, refused to recant, and was beheaded.
St. Maria Zheng Xu — Maria was 11 when she was killed for being a Christian during the Boxer Rebellion in China.
St. Maria Goretti — Maria was only 12 when her neighbour attempted to rape her and then, when she resisted, murdered her. She’s considered a martyr because she died standing up for what was right. Recommended biography: St. Maria Goretti: A Journey into Forgiveness and Redemption
St. Tarcisius — Tarcisius was a 12-year-old Roman boy who carried the Eucharist to imprisoned Christians awaiting martyrdom. While he was doing this one day, he was attacked by local bullies, but protected the Host with his life.
St. Zita of Lucca — Zita was 12 when she became housekeeper for a rich family in Lucca; she worked there for the next 48 years. During this time, she prayed regularly, attended daily Mass, and helped the poor while also performing her household duties perfectly.
Blessed Albertina Berkenbrock — Albertina was a sweet, pious child who grew up on her family’s farm in Brazil. However, when she was 12, one of her father’s farm workers tried to rape her; when she resisted, he killed her.
St. Eulalia of Merida — Eulalia was born in Spain and raised by a Christian mother. When she was 12, she defended her faith to the authorities and was martyred.
Teen Saints (age 11-19)
St. Philomena — Philomena was a 13-year-old virgin when she was martyred by Roman emperor Diocletian for refusing to marry him; many miracles have been attributed to her intercession. Recommended biography: Saint Philomena, the Wonder-Worker
Blessed Laura Vicuna — Laura attended a boarding school run by religious sisters and prayed ardently for her mother’s conversion. She was abused by her mother’s boyfriend and died when she was 13.
“O my God, I want to love You and serve You all my life. I give you my soul, my heart, my whole self.” ~ Blessed Laura Vicuna
St. Agnes of Rome — Agnes was a beautiful young girl born to a noble Roman family in 291 AD. She had many suitors but wished to remain a virgin consecrated to God, and was martyred because of that when she was 13.
St. Bernadette Soubirous — Bernadette was 14 when Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to her sixteen times and revealed the name Immaculate Conception to her. Recommended biography: Bernadette of Lourdes: Her life, death and visions
St. Dominic Savio — Dominic was a student at St. John Bosco’s school who showed early signs of piety. He began serving at the altar at age 5 and underwent severe physical penances, but died of lung disease when he was 14. Recommended biography: The Life of St Dominic Savio
St. Kizito — Kizito was only 14 when he was martyred by the King of Uganda for his faith.
Blessed Marie-Leonie Paradis — Marie-Leonie joined the Holy Cross congregation when she was only 14 and taught for many years, encouraging young women in their vocations.
St. Anna Wang — Anna was 14 when she and other Christians were rounded up during the Boxer Rebellion and asked to recant their faith. Anna refused and was martyred.
St. Pancras of Rome — Pancras was orphaned when he was 14 and came to Rome with his uncle, St. Dionysus. He was martyred with several other early Christians for proclaiming his faith.
St. Bona of Pisa — Bona experienced mystical visions as a child and became a Third Order Augustinian when she was 10. At age 14, she went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to see her father, who was fighting in the crusades. She also traveled the Santiago de Compostela ten times, becoming ill and dying on her last pilgrimage.
St. Dymphna — Dymphna was 15 when her own father (a pagan king) attempted to force her to marry him; she refused and fled with her priest, but was discovered and martyred by her father. Recommended biography: The King’s Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland (God’s Forgotten Friends)
St. Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio — Jose Luis fought as a soldier in the Cristero War in Mexico. He was 15 when he was put to death by government officials for refusing to deny his faith. Recommended biography: Saint José: Boy Cristero Martyr (New Vision Books)
St. Prisca — Prisca was raised in a Christian family during the reign of Claudius II. She was arrested as a teenager, defended her faith to the emperor, and was tortured and martyred.
St. Eustochia Calafato — Eustochia entered a convent in her mid-teens after seeing a vision of Christ crucified, but her family forced her to return home. Later, she joined the Poor Clares; she had great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the poor in her community.
St. Agnes of Montepulciano — Agnes joined a monastery when she was 9 and became abbess when she was only 15. She was a peacemaker who also experienced ecstacies in which she held the baby Jesus and received Holy Communion from an angel.
St. Olivia of Palermo — Olivia helped the poor and prisoners in her town. The Saracens invaded when she was 15 and they sent her to Tunis, but she converted many Muslims to Christianity. She was then tortured and beheaded.
St. Fusca of Ravenna — Fusca converted to Christianity and was baptized when she was 15, along with her nurse. Her family ordered her to recant her faith, but she refused and was martyred.
Venerable Cecilia Eusepi — Cecilia was inspired by St. Therese and yearned to be a missionary nun, but suffered from tuberculosis. She made her final vows and wrote The Story of a Clown before dying at age 16.
St. Denis Ssebuggwawo — Denis was the personal page to the Ugandan King Mwanga II of Buganda. He was also a Christian and catechist who taught others, until he was arrested by the King. He was 16 when he was martyred.
Blessed Catherine of St. Augustine — Catherine felt a call to holiness even as a child; at age 5, she had mystical experiences with God in prayer and when she was 10, she dedicated herself to Mary. She joined a convent when she was 12 and volunteered for missions in Canada when she was 16, just after making her final vows as a nun.
St. Lucy — Lucy’s mother wanted her to marry a rich Roman man, until they made a pilgrimage to St. Agatha’s grave. Lucy’s mother was healed and allowed Lucy to distribute her dowry to the poor, but Lucy’s betrothed turned her in to the Emperor Diocletian and she was martyred.
Blessed Karolina Kozka — Karolina was a pious girl who prayed many rosaries and catechized the neighbourhood children. When she was 16, a Russian soldier attempted to rape her; when she resisted, he killed her.
St. Cecilia of Rome — Cecilia had taken a vow of perpetual virginity, even though she married a Roman man. She converted her husband (who respected her virginity) and his brother. They helped bury Christians who were martyred by the emperor and then were martyred themselves.
St. Jean de la Lande — Jean was 17 when he offered himself as an assistant to the Jesuit missionaries in New France. He accompanied St. Isaac Jogues on a mission to the Iroquois and was captured and killed along with St. Isaac. Recommended biography: North American Martyrs Kids Activity Book
Blessed Savina Petrilli — Savina read a biography of St. Catherine of Sienne when she was 10 that inspired her to follow in St. Catherine’s footsteps. At the age of 18, she met Pope Pius IX, who encouraged her vocation. She went on to found the Congregation of the Poor Sisters of St. Catherine of Sienna.
“Being Sisters of the Poor involves the commitment to never abandon those poor whom God gives us as brothers and sisters.” ~ Blessed Savina Petrilli
Blessed Maria Angela Astorch — Maria Angela joined a Poor Clare convent when she was orphaned at age 12. Because of her age, she had to wait five years before taking her final vows. When she was 22, she founded a new monastery, where she eventually became abbess. She was also a mystic.
St. Rose of Viterbo — Rose began living as a recluse, giving her life to prayer and penance, when she was 7. She entered the Third Order of St. Francis at age 10 and tried to found a monastery when she was 15. She died of a heart condition when she was 18.
St. Stanisłaus Kostka— Stanislaus experienced a miraculous vision during a serious illness while attending a Jesuit college, but his piety caused his older brother to mistreat him. He was a Jesuit novice when he died at age 18.
St. Pedro Calungsod — Pedro was a sacristan and teacher of catechism when he was only a teenager. He was killed when he was 18 while doing missionary work in Guam in 1672.
St. Dulce Lopes Pontes — Dulce joined a congregation of missionary sisters when she was 18 and founded a Christian workers movement in her hometown. Her Charitable Works Foundation is one of the top health institutions in Brazil and she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
St. Catherine of Alexandria — Catherine was a noble, well-educated Roman girl who experienced a vision of Mary and the infant Jesus and became a Christian. She denounced the Emperor Maximilian for his cruelty, successfully debated his 50 orators (and caused several to convert), and was martyred.
St. Margaret Clitherow — Margaret converted to Catholicism when she was 18, during the persecutions of Catholics by the Church of England. She helped priests hide in her home, was caught and martyred. Recommended biography: St. Margaret Clitherow [Illustrated]
St. Margaret of Hungary — Margaret was a Hungarian princess promised to God before her birth; she entered the convent at age 3 and took vows at age 12. When she was 18, she could have left the convent to marry the King of Bohemia, but refused, instead choosing to do the most menial and repulsive chores in the community.
Blessed Chiara Badano — Chiara often visited sick classmates, seniors, and the homeless. She developed cancer when she was 17 and refused morphine for the pain, offering her suffering to Jesus. She died at age 19. Recommended biography: Chiara Corbella Petrillo
St. Joan of Arc — St. Joan heard the voices of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret when she was young. When she was 16, she went to the Dauphin and began fighting in the Anglo-French wars, winning many victories for the French and for God. She was captured and martyred by the English when she was 19. Recommended biography: Saint Joan: The Girl Soldier
Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio — Nunzio’s parents died when he was a child and he was raised by his uncle, who abused him. He contracted gangrene and spent years in the hospital in pain. He then served other patients in the hospital before dying of cancer at age 19.
Blessed Marie-Celine of the Presentation — Marie-Celine grew up with a limp after catching polio at age 4. She developed tuberculosis at age 14 while caring for her older brother (who had the disease). She was turned away from two religious orders because of her disability, then joined the Poor Clares. She made her final vows on her deathbed at age 19.
“I am determined to be a violet of humility, a rose of charity, and a lily of purity for Jesus.” ~ Blessed Marie-Celine of the Presentation
Young Adult Saints (age 20-35)
St. Teresa of the Andes — Teresa was born in Chile in 1900. She was educated by nuns and at age 14 decided to consecrate herself to Jesus as a religious in the Discalced Carmelite Nuns. She knew she would die young and made her religious profession just before dying from typhus at age 20.
Blessed Andrew of Phu Yen — Andrew was born to a poor mother in Vietnam and studied with the Jesuits. He was baptized when he was 16 and became a zealous teacher of his faith. He was captured by soldiers of the king, who wanted to rid Vietnam of Christianity, and killed when he was 20.
Blessed Teresa Bracco — Teresa was devoted to the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary from a young age. Inspired by St. Dominic Savio, she took “Death rather than sin” as her motto. That motto was fulfilled when she resisted a soldier attempted to assault her, and was martyred at age 20.
Blessed Osanna of Catarro — Osanna was just as a girl when she experienced visions of Christ as a baby and on the cross. She became an anchoress when she was 20 and later joined the Third Order Dominicans. She continued to experience visions until her death.
Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu — Maria became involved in Catholic Action at age 18, then entered a Trappist monastery. She offered her life in prayer for the cause of Catholic Action and died of tuberculosis when she was 21.
Blessed Isidore Bakanja — Isidore lived in the Belgian Congo at the turn of the 1900s. He was baptized at age 18, prayed the rosary frequently, and wore a Brown Scapular (“Mary’s Habit”). He was beaten to death at age 22 by his Belgian overseer for being black and Catholic.
St. John Berchmans — John wanted to be a priest from a very young ageand joined the Jesuits at age 16. He was excellent at public disputes and debates but he caught a severe cold (or dysentery) and died at age 22.
St. Germaine Cousin — Germaine was abused and mistreated by her step-mother from a very young age. She made a rosary from a string with knots, and attended daily Mass while caring for her family’s sheep. She died when she was 22.
St. Clelia Barbieri — Clelia was born in Italy; her mother was wealthy, her father poor. She received her first communion when she was eleven and had a mystical experience. She founded a religious community, but died only a short time later, at age 23.
St. Camilla Battista de Varano — Camilla was 10 when she heard a priest as people to shed a tear for Christ’s passion, and began to do this each Friday. She joined the Poor Clares when she was 23.
“Blessed is that creature who never gives up under any temptation the good she began!” ~ St. Camilla Battista de Varano
St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart — Teresa entered the monastery of the Discalced Carmelites when she was 17 and grounded her spiritual and religious life in devotion to the Eucharist, Our Lady, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She died of peritonitis when she was 23.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga — Aloysius chose the religious life at age 9 and made a vow of virginity. He suffered from a kidney disease, but joined the Jesuits when he was 18. He served in a hospital during the plague of 1587 in Milan and died from the plague at age 23.
St. Magdalene of Nagasaki — Magdalene’s parents were both martyred before she was 10. She became an Augustinian tertiary, despite the perspecution of Catholics in Japan. Her spiritual counselors were also martyred. When she was 23, Magdalene confessed to being a Christian and was also martyred.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha — Kateri was a Mohawk girl whose parents died when she was four. She was raised by her uncle, but remembered the prayers her mother, a Catholic convert, taught her. When she was 18, missionary priests returned to her village and Kateri converted. She was persecuted by her family, escaped to Canada, and died at age 24. Recommended biography: Lily of the Mohawks: The Story of St. Kateri
St. Therese of Lisieux — Therese received special permission from the pope to join the local Carmelite convent at the age of 15. She practiced a “little way” of holiness, praying for missionaries around the world. She died of tuberculosis at age 24. Recommended biography: The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of the Little Flower
St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows — Gabriel has much in common with St. Therese. He also lost his mother at age four, recovered miraculously from serious illness, and desired at a young age to enter the religious life. He lived a spirit of prayer, obedience, penance and love for the poor, but died at age 24 of tuberculosis.
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati — Pier was born into a wealthy family and as a student, was known for his piety and devotion. He was a Third Order Dominican who was involved in Catholic Action and gave most of his allowance to those in need. He died at age 24 of polio. Recommended biography: To the Heights: A Novel Based on the Life of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
St. Elizabeth of Hungary — Elizabeth was married when she was 14 and had three children; she lived a life of prayer and service to the poor, supported by her husband. At age 16, she learned about St. Francis and decided to model her life after his. After her beloved husband died, she took a vow of celibacy and then joined the Third Order Franciscans. She was only 24 when she died.
St. Tatiana of Rome — Tatiana was a daughter of a Roman civil servant and a deaconess in the Church. She was martyred for refusing to make sacrificed to Apollo.
St. Aleydis — Aleydis was 7 when she started school at a Cistercian convent. She later joined the congregation, but contract leprosy and had to be secluded from her community. She developed a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist, but couldn’t receive the chalice because of fear of contagion. Jesus appeared to her to assure her that receiving under one species was enough.
St. Catherine Laboure — Catherine was 9 years old when her mother died and she took the Virgin Mary as her mother. When she was 24, she joined the Order of St. Vincent de Paul. Soon after, the Blessed Mother appeared to her twice, and gave her the instructions for the Miraculous Medal.
“I know nothing; I was nothing. For this reason God picked me out.” ~ St. Catherine Laboure
Blessed Pina Suriano — Pina joined the Catholic Action lay apostolate when she was 7, despite her parents’ opposition to her faith. Her health prevented her from joining a convent, so at age 23, she made an offering of her life for the sanctification of priests. She died at age 25 of a heart attack.
“Jesus, make me more and more your own. Jesus, I want to live and die with you and for you.” ~ Blessed Pina Suriano
Blessed Marie-Clémentine Anuarite Nengapeta — Marie-Clementine became a nun when she was 20, just five years before armed conflict broke out in the Congo. She and her fellow sisters were removed from their convent and soldiers attempted to seduce them. Marie-Clementine resisted and was shot by a colonel, saying, “‘I forgive you for you know not what you are doing.”
St. Gemma Galgani — Gemma had to quit school because of chronic health problems, but experienced mystical visions and special graces. She began experiencing the stigmata when she was 21 and died when she was 25. Recommended biography: The Diary of Saint Gemma
St. Marina of Omura — Marina and her father welcomed missionaries into their home. Marina became a Dominican tertiary. She was martyred when she was 25.
Blessed Gaetana Sterni — Gaetana married a widower with three children when she was 16 and cared for his kids like they were her own. When he died, she entered a convent. She began working in a hospice for the poor when she was 26 and founded the Daughters of the Divine Will.
St. Maria Teresa Fasce — Maria wanted to be a nun from a young age and greatly admired St. Rita of Cascia, who was canonized when Maria was 18. Against her family’s wishes, she applied to join St. Rita’s congregation, and did so when she was 26.
St. Candida Maria de Jesus — Candida’s early years were difficult, as she had to go to work to help support her poor family. When she was 26, she and five others founded an order that focused on saving the souls of children and teens, especially girls, through education.
St. Mariana de Jesus de Paredes — Mariana was drawn to God from childhood. At age 10, she took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and lived as a hermit in her home, doing austere penances. She offered her life for the city of Quito, Ecuador, which was experiencing earthquakes and epidemics; she died soon after, at age 27.
St. Agatha of Sicily — Agatha was born to a rich Roman family and dedicated her life to God. One suitor, enraged that she wouldn’t marry him, imprisoned her in a brothel, tortured her, and attempted to starve her.
Sts. Perpetua and Felicity — Perpetua was 22 when she was arrested, along with her slave Felicity, for being a Christian. Despite her father’s pleadings, she refused to recant her faith; she had a vision of a golden ladder to heaven and was martyred with Felicity.
Blessed Pierina Morosini — Pierina was 16 when she attended Maria Goretti’s beatification. Inspired by Maria, she also made vows of chastity and joined Catholic Action. When she was 26, a man tried to rape her on her way home from work. Like Maria, Pierina resisted and was killed.
St. Mary Bartolomea Capitano — Bartolomea went to school with the Poor Clares when she was 11; she wanted to join the community, but her parents refused, so she returned home seven years later. She was inspired by the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga and tried to emulate his virtues. She received her teacher’s certificate when she was 15 and with a dear friend co-founded a religious order. She died of tuberculosis when she was 26.
Blessed Teodora Fracasso — Teodora had a vision as a child of St. Therese of Lisieux telling her she would become a nun. She joined the Third Order of St. Dominic when she was 14. She joined the Carmelites when she was 19 and taught at a boarding school. She died from a brain tumour on Christmas Day at age 26.
Sts. Agape, Chionia, and Irene — these three sisters were martyred for hiding copies of Scripture and refusing to eat food sacrificed to pagan gods.
“I believe in a living God, and will not by an evil action lose all the merit of my past life.” ~ St. Agape
Blessed Teresa Manganiello — Teresa grew up on a farm and never went to school, yet wanted to be a nun. She became a Franciscan tertiary when she was 21 and was going to found a new congregation when she died suddenly at age 27.
St. Marta Maria Wiecka — Maria tried to join a convent when she was 16, but was told she was too young. She tried again when she was 18, and was accepted. She served in the local hospital, and one day offered to cleanse the room of a typhoid patient when the nurse assigned to that job, a young father, expressed fear of doing so. Marta contracted typhoid and died at age 30.
St. Agostina Livia Pietrantoni — Agostina began manual labour at the age of 7, hauling stones for road construction. She joined a religious order when she was 22 and went to work at an anti-Catholic hospital. There, she was stabbed to death by a patient when she was 30.
Blessed Agnes Phila — Agnes became a religious sister when she was 19 and was sent to Thailand as a schoolteacher. When anti-Catholic persececutions began there, she stood up to the authorities. She and six others were martyred on Boxing Day, when Agnes was 31.
“You can kill us, but not the Church and God.” ~ Blessed Agnes Phila
St. Mariam Baouardy — Mariam was only 5 when she began to fast on Sundays to honour the Blessed Virgin. When she was 13, she was betrothed to be married, but felt called to the religious life. Her uncle beat her for this and a servant tried to woo her himself. When she refused, he stabbed her and left her for dead. Mariam was rescued by a nun in blue who cared for her and then disappeared. She lived as a Carmelite nun until her death when she was 31.
St. Rose of Lima — Rose wanted to become a nun from an early age, and dedicated herself to prayer, fasting, and secret penances. She the Third Order of St. Dominic when she was 20. She died when she was 31. Recommended biography: St. Rose of Lima
Blessed Dina Belanger — Dina was a teenager when she developed a personal rule of life based on prayer, Mass, the rosary, and mediation. She joined the Religious of Jesus and Mary when she was 24 and was appointed music teacher at the convent, but struggled with ill health. She died when she was 32.
Blesed Sancja Szymkowiak — Sancja was a happy girl who joined the Sodality of Mary during her school years. When she was 24, she went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes and offered herself to Mary. She joined a religious congregation and made her final vows when she was 28. When the Nazis invaded, Sancja remained with her convent rather than return home. She died of tuberculosis when she was 32.
St. Anne Line — Anne converted to Catholicism from Calvinism when she was a teen. Her family disinherited her and then her brother and husband were arrested and had to go into exile. Anne oversaw safe houses for priests and was sentenced to hang for that when she was 34.
Blessed Maria Crescencia Perez — Maria took her vows as a nun when she was 21 and worked at a school. She also cared for children hospitalized with tuberculosis, and became sick herself. She died when she was 35.
What cool saints have inspired your faith?
Blessed Carlo Acutis, teenaged lover of the Holy Eucharist. He created the Vatican Exhibit on Eucharistic Miracles around the world. See the websites http://www.miracolieucaristici.org/en/liste/list.html or http://www.carloacutis.com/
This is a very neat resource and I’m happy to have stumbled on it! Thank you! I did want to point out one clarification though – St Maria Goretti was not actually raped. Rape attempts were made, but she resisted and prevented their success. Her resistance enraged her attacker, who stabbed her 14 times, ultimately resulting in her death.
Thank you! I tried to give a brief description of each saint (so it didn’t turn into an unreadably long post!) but I guess I was too concise there. 🙂 I’ve fixed it. I’m glad you enjoyed this post.