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Feastday: January 26

Patron of widows

Birth: 347

Death: 404


Born in Rome of a noble family on May 5, 347. Paula married Toxotius, and the couple had five children - Toxotius, Blesilla, Paulina, Eustochium, and Rufina. They were regarded as an ideal married couple, and on his deathin 379, she renounced the world, lived in the greatest austerity, and devoted herself to helping the poor. She met St. Jerome in 382 through St. Epiphanius and Paulinus of Antioch and was closely associated with Jerome in his work while he was in Rome. The death of her daughter Blesilla in 384 left her heartbroken, and in 385 she left Rome with Eustochium, traveled to the Holy Land with Jerome, and a year later settled in Bethlehem under his spiritual direction. She and Eustochium built a hospice, a monastery, and a convent, which Paula governed. She became Jerome's closest confidante and assistant, taking care of him and helping him in his biblical work, build numerous churches, which were to cause her financial difficulties in her old age, and died at Bethlehem on January 26. She is the patroness of widows. Her feast day is January 26.


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