st.Paula-Friend and patron of St. Jerome

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Feast Day : January 26



Patronage: widows



Paula was born in Rome of a noble family on May 5, 347. She married a patrician, Toxotius, and had five children: Toxotius, Blesilla, Paulina, Eustochium and Rufina. She was 32 when her husband died in 379, and Paula announced she would become an ascetic and devote herself to helping the poor. In 382 she met Jerome through St. Epiphanius and Paulinus of Antioch. She was drawn to Jerome and became his supporter and patron. They became close, causing rumors to circulate that their relationship was improper. Eustochium took the veil from Jerome in 382. In 384 Paula’s daughter Blesilla died. The following year, Paula and Eustochium left Rome with Jerome and went to the Holy Land. They settled in Bethlehem in 386 and established monastic communities for men and women. Paula worked under Jerome’s direction. She and Eustochium built a hospice, a monastery and a convent, which Paula governed. In her later years she provided great assistance to Jerome with his biblical scholarship writing. She also looked after him and assisted in the building of other churches. The churches became a financial strain. She died in Bethlehem on January 26, 404.

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