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Feastday: December 31

Birth: 383

Death: 439

St. Melania whose feast day is December 31. Melania was born to wealthy Christians, Publicola, a Roman senator, and Albina. At fourteen, she was given in marriage to Valerius Pinianus. When two of her children died soon after childbirth, her husband agreed to lead a life of continency and religious dedication.

Inheriting her father's vast wealth, Melania endowed monasteries in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine and aided churches and monasteries in Europe. To escape the barbarian invasions, she fled with her mother and husband to Tagaste in Numidia in the year 410.

In 417, all three made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and settled at Jerusalem, where Melania became a friend of St. Jerome. After the death of her mother in 431 and her husband in 432, Melania attracted disciples to her solitary way of life and built a convent, for which she was Abbess until her death on December 31, 439.

The life of St. Melania reminds us of the fleeting character of earthly wealth. We should strive to emulate her use of wealth as well as talents to further the cause of Christ.

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