St. Jerome Emiliani

Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 02/08

Patron Of: Orphans, Abandoned People, Taos Indian People

Also known as
    Gerolamo Miani

    8 February
    formerly 20 July

    Born wealthy, the son of Angelo and Eleanor Mauroceni Emiliani. His father died when Jerome was a teenager, and he ran away from home at age 15. After a dissolute youth, he became a soldier in Venice in 1506. Commanded the League of Cambrai forces at the fortress of Castelnuovo in the mountains near Treviso. Captured by Venetian forces on 27 August 1511, he was chained in a dungeon. He prayed to Our Lady for help, was miraculously freed by an apparition, and hung his chains on a church wall as an offering. Mayor of Treviso while studying for the priesthood. Ordained in the spotted-fever plague year of 1518.

    Cared for the sick, and housed orphans in his own home. At night he roamed the streets, burying those who had collapsed and died unattended. Contracted the fever himself, but survived. Founded six orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes, and a hospital. Founded the Order of Somaschi (Company of Servants of the Poor, or Somascan Fathers, or Regular Clergy of Somasca) c.1532, a congregation of clerks regular vowed to the care of orphans, and named after the town of Somasca where they started, and where they founded a seminary; the society was given approval by Pope Paul III in 1540, and continue their work today in a dozen countries. Believed to have developed the question-and-answer catechism technique for teaching children religion. Declared the patron of orphans and abandoned children in 1928 by Pope Pius XI.

    1481 at Venice, Italy

    8 February 1537 in Italy of a disease caught when tending the sick

    29 September 1747 by Pope Benedict XIV

    16 July 1767

    abandoned people
    Taos Indian Pueblo

All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.


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