Saint Jerome Emiliani
Feast Day: February 8
Time period: 1481-1537
Summary: Venice, Italy in the early 1500’s was in turmoil caused by war, famine and disease. During this time, St. Jerome Emiliani left his life of debauchery to join the army. He was captured by the army of Emperor Maximillia and was thrown into a dungeon, chained, starved and tortured. He prayed to the Blessed Mother for guidance and intercession and she freed him from prison. He immediately made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Treviso where he left his chains at a side altar and devoted his life to Mary. St. Jerome was ordained in 1518 and began his ministry to the sick and to orphans. A plague broke out in 1528 and St. Jerome wandered the streets burying the dead. He bought a house to shelter orphans, took charge of a hospital for incurables and erected two orphanages. He established a shelter for prostitutes and in 1532 founded the Company of the Servants of the Poor. St. Jerome contracted an incurable disease and died at the age of 56. St. Jerome is known for the virtues of poverty, compassion, charity and benevolence.
Patronage: Orphans and abandoned children