The Education of St. Ambrose

St. Ambrose of Milan (AD 340-397)

by Joseph Parkinson The life of St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church, is known from his writings, and from the Life written by Paulinus, his secretary. St. Ambrose belonged to an old and noble Roman family, and among his ancestors were both Christian martyrs and distinguished magistrates. At the time of his birth, in 340 AD, his father was Prefect of Gallia, an office of the highest rank. In about the year 354 his father died and the family went to live in Rome. His sister Marcellina, who was a consecrated virgin, assisted his mother greatly … Continue

St. Francis of Assisi (October 4)

St. Francis, the son of a merchant of Assisi, was born in that city A.D. 1182. Chosen by God to be a living manifestation to the world of Christ’s poor and suffering life on earth, he was early inspired with a high esteem and burning love of poverty and humiliation. The thought of the “Man of Sorrows”, who had not where to lay His head, filled him with holy envy of the poor, and constrained him to renounce the wealth and worldly station which he abhorred. The scorn and hard usage which he met with from his father and townsmen … Continue

February 12. St Benedict of Anian

St. Benedict of Anian was the son of Aigulf, Governor of Languedoc, and was born about 750. In his early youth he served as cupbearer to King Pepin and his son Charlemagne, enjoying under them great honors and possessions. Grace entered his soul at the age of twenty.  He resolved to seek the kingdom of God with his whole heart. Without relinquishing his place at court, he lived there a most mortified life for three years; then a narrow escape from drowning made him vow to quit the world, and he entered the cloister of St. Seine. In reward for … Continue

February 10. St Scholastica, Abbess

Of St. Scholastica but little is known on earth, save that she was the sister of the great patriarch St. Benedict, and that, under his direction, she founded and governed a numerous community near Monte Casino. St. Gregory sums up her life by saying that she devoted herself to God from her childhood, and that her pure soul went to God in the likeness of a dove, as if to show that her life bad been enriched with the fullest gifts of the Holy Spirit. Her brother was accustomed to visit her every year, for “she could not be sated … Continue

February 8. St. John of Matha

The life of St. John of Matha was one long course of self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the good of his neighbor. As a child, his chief delight was serving the poor; and he often told them he had come into the world for no other end but to wash their feet. He studied at Paris with such distinction that his professors advised him to become a priest, in order that his talents might render greater service to others; and, for this end, John gladly sacrificed his high rank and other worldly advantages. At his first Mass an … Continue

February 7. St. Romuald, Abbot

In 976, Sergius, a nobleman of Ravenna, quarrelled with a relative about an estate, and slew him in a duel. His son Romuald, horrified at his father’s crime, entered the Benedictine monastery at Classe, to do a forty days’ penance for him. This penance ended in his own vocation to religion. After three years at Classe, Romuald went to live as a hermit near Venice, where he was joined by Peter Urseolus, Duke of Venice, and together they led a most austere life in the midst of assaults from the evil spirits. St. Romuald founded many monasteries, the chief of … Continue

February 6. St. Dorothy, Virgin & Martyr

St. Dorothy was a young virgin, celebrated at Cæsarea, where she lived , for her angelic virtue. Her parents seem to have been martyred before her in the Diocletian persecution, and when the Governor Sapricius came to Cæsarea he called her before him, and sent this child of martyrs to the home where they were waiting for her. She was stretched upon the rack, and offered marriage if she would consent to sacrifice, or death if she refused. But she replied that “Christ was her only Spouse, and death her desire.” She was then placed in charge of two women … Continue

February 5. St. Agatha

St. Agatha was born in Sicily, of rich and noble parents— a child of benediction from the first, for she was promised to her parents before her birth, and consecrated from her earliest infancy to God. In the midst of dangers and temptations she served Christ in purity of body and soul, and she died for the love of chastity. Quintanus, who governed Sicily under the Emperor Decius, had heard the rumor of her beauty and wealth, and he made the laws against the Christians a pretext for summoning her from Palermo to Catania, where he was at the time. … Continue

February 4. St. Jane, of Valois

Born of the blood royal of France, herself a queen, Jane of Valois led a life remarkable for its humiliations even in the annals of the Saints. Her father, Louis XL, who had hoped for a son to succeed him, banished Jane from his palace, and, it is said, even attempted her life. At the age of five the neglected child offered her whole heart to God, and yearned to do some special service in honor of His Blessed Mother. At the king’s wish, though against her own inclination, she was married to the Duke of Orleans. Towards an indifferent … Continue

February 3. St. Blase, Bishop & Martyr

St. Blase devoted the earlier years of his life to the study of philosophy, and afterwards became a physician. In the practice of his profession he saw so much of the miseries of life and the hollowness of worldly pleasures, that he resolved to spend the rest of his days in the service of God, and from being a healer of bodily ailments to become a physician of souls. The bishop of Sebaste, in Arminia, having died, our Saint, much to the gratification of the inhabitants of that city, was appointed to succeed him. St. Blase at once began to … Continue