Fairly recently a family member of mine and my wifes tried to convince me to just let a divorce and annulment happen by saying that there were many good Catholic Saints who themselves had been through divorce. Rather than simply taking that at face value I asked a few questions. I asked if these saints were the divorcer or divorcee, did they seek annulments or choose to live out their vows in the midst of being seperated, and did any of them remarry. I was skeptical to say the least, since Catholic and divorce don't go together I didn't believe that any of them could be the divorcer and become a saint. I was wrong. Of the three divorced Saints I found(I didn't get an answer to those questions so I did my own research) two of them were the divorcer. As you will see there was serious reparation needed on their behalf. None of them sought annulment, and one remarried despite that. The three Saints are Saints Helen, Guntramnus, and Fabiola. their stories are as follows:
St. Fabiola belonged to the patrician Roman family of the Fabia. She had been married to a man who led so vicious a life that to live with him was impossible. She obtained a divorce from him according to Roman law, and, contrary to the ordinances of the Church, she entered upon a second union before the death of her first husband. On the day before Easter, following the death of her second consort, she appeared before the gates of the Lateran basilica, dressed in penitential garb, and did penance in public for her sin, an act which made a great impression upon the Christian population of Rome. The pope received her formally again into full communion with the Church.
St. Guntramnus grew up without the faith.. Son of King Clotaire, and Saint Clothildis, Brother of King Charibert, and King Sigebert. King of Orleans, and Burgundy in 561. Married to Mercatrude, Peacemaker. He divorced Mercatrude; some time later she became seriously ill, and when her physician could not cure her, he had the doctor murdered. Upon his conversion to Christianity he was so overcome with remorse for the acts of his prior life, he devoted his energy and fortune to building up the Church. Protector of the oppressed, care-giver to the sick, tender parent to his subjects, open with alms, especially during plague and famine. He strictly and justly enforced the law without respect to person, yet forgave offenses against himself, including two attempted assassins.
St. Helen was a native of Bithynia, and a daughter of an inn-keeper. In spite of her humble birth, she married a Roman soldier, the then Roman general Constantius I Chlorus about 270. Constantine, her son - who became Constantine the Great, was born in Nish, Serbia soon after, in 272. In 293, when Constantius was made Caesar, or junior emperor, he was persuaded to divorce Helen to marry Theodora the stepdaughter of Emperor Maximian. He lived for fourteen years after the divorce of St. Helen, and when he died at York in 306 his troops at York proclaimed their son Constantine caesar.
Perhaps St. Fabiola's story is the best illustration of the seriousness of divorce and remarriage while your first spouse is still living, as she had to penance before being returned to full communion with the church. We can pray and ask these Saints to intercede for us, as they are all three patron saints of divorce and difficult marriages.