I first posted on this four years ago, but it may be worth revisiting, now that Bernie Sanders is suddenly a frontrunner. Many may not know that his wife is Catholic.


Jane is an academic who has served in various positions at colleges across Vermont. She has a PhD in Leadership Studies in Politics and Education from the Union Institute and University, and often juggled her academic career with her husband’s campaigns. Like Bernie, Jane came from a family where the fight for economic reform was important and social justice values were imprinted on her from a young age. She’s a great match for Bernie personally and politically, and made a devoted husband out of a man who once wrote a manifesto on free love back in the ‘60s.

She’s also a Roman Catholic.

Bernie Sanders seems to have purposefully gone out of his way to avoid calling attention to his Jewishness. He shrugs and simply repeats that he isn’t “actively involved in organized religion.” But he has also stated that he does believe in God, and spent a few years in Israel at a leftist kibbutz. Even if he’s not attending temple every Sabbath, there’s no denying the fact that Bernie Sanders is the first Jewish candidate to ever win a state’s presidential primary. If he won the election, he’d be the first Jewish president ever.

Moreover, if Bernie won the election, he and Jane would be the first president and First Lady in an interfaith marriage. That may not mean much to some people, but for millions of interfaith couples in our religiously-diverse nation, it would help break barriers and bring understanding to how interfaith relationships function in our society.

…Like her husband, Jane doesn’t attend Mass every Sunday. But she still considers herself a believer and has been known to seek out St. Anne’s Shrine, a pilgrimage site for Catholics on Vermont’s Lake Champlain Islands.

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Photo: by Gage Skidmore/Public Domain