St Jerome Emiliani; St Josephine Bakhita
by americancatholic.org | Source: americancatholic.org
St Jerome Emiliani
A careless and irreligious soldier for the
city-state of Venice, Jerome was captured in a skirmish at an outpost town and chained in a dungeon.
In prison Jerome had a lot of time to think, and he gradually learned how to pray. When he escaped,
he returned to Venice where he took charge of the education of his nephews—and began his own studies
for the priesthood.
In the years after his ordination, events again called Jerome to a decision and a new
lifestyle. Plague and famine swept northern Italy. Jerome began caring for the sick and feeding the
hungry at his own expense. While serving the sick and the poor, he soon resolved to devote himself
and his property solely to others, particularly to abandoned children. He founded three orphanages,
a shelter for penitent prostitutes and a hospital.
Around 1532 Jerome and two other priests established a
congregation, the Clerks Regular of Somasca, dedicated to the care of orphans and the education of
youth. Jerome died in 1537 from a disease he caught while tending the sick. He was canonized in
1767. In 1928 Pius Xl named him the patron of orphans and abandoned children.
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