FREE Catholic Classes
In early Christian inscriptions the title ancilla Dei is often given to a deceased woman. From the meaning attached to this term in the Middle Ages it has sometimes been assumed, without sufficient proof, that the persons so qualified in the first age of Christianity were consecrated virgins. The inscriptions containing this formula are of two classes: one, in which it is merely stated that a given person was ancilla Dei ; the other, from which it is clear that this title was sometimes given to persons who certainly were not religious. It is with the latter class that we are concerned. The former class is the more numerous, but one of the latter is quite explicit. This informs us that a certain monument was erected by a husband to his wife, whom he styles Dei ancilla -- "(Laur)entius Rufine coniugi Dei anci(llae) . . ." ( De Rossi, Roma Sott., III, p. 11, n. 4). In a Roman inscription of the first quarter of the sixth century a certain Guttes is referred to as ancilla Dei , and it is further stated that she was nonnes -- "in presence of the nun Guttes, a handmaid of God " (sub presentiâ nonnes Guttes, ancille Dei). This reference proves that even in the sixth century, ancilla Dei is a title not peculiar to religious; the author regarded it as necessary to state explicitly that she was nonnes (Cabrol, Dict. d'arch. chrét, 1902). From the pontificate of St. Gregory the Great (590 - 604), however, only nuns, as a rule, were qualified by this title: "ancillas Dei quas vos graecâ linguâ monastrias dicitis" (Greg. M. Ep., vi, 23).
Help Now >
Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Mysteries of the Rosary
Saint of the Day for Thursday, June 30th, 2022
Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony
Daily Readings Archive
Prayer of the Day for Thursday, June 30
Saint Feast Days in July
St. Junipero Serra
Act of Contrition
- Daily Readings for Friday, July 01, 2022
- St. Junipero Serra: Saint of the Day for Friday, July 01, 2022
- Prayer of the Chalice: Prayer of the Day for Friday, July 01, 2022
- Daily Readings for Thursday, June 30, 2022
- First Martyrs of the See of Rome: Saint of the Day for Thursday, June 30, 2022
- Good Night My Guardian Angel: Prayer of the Day for Thursday, June 30, 2022
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.