Celebrating Saint Jerome Emiliani

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by Patricia Mathson

Celebrating Saint Jerome Emiliani

Cared for Others

Feast Day: February 8

[CLICK HERE] for a Saint Page about St. Jerome Emiliani that your learners can take home to share with their families.

Jerome Emiliani was born in Venice, Italy, around 1486. He grew up and became a soldier, but he did not expect to end up in prison. Yet, he was taken prisoner in 1511. While held captive, Jerome had a lot of time to think about his life up to that point. He realized that he had not been living as God created him to live.

Changed His Life

Jerome Emiliani escaped from prison and changed his life. He became a Catholic priest in 1518. Father Emiliani gave shelter to orphans and cared for them. He helped those who were hungry and who were sick with the plague. He started a hospital. Through his words and actions, Father Jerome Emiliani brought hope to the lives of other people.

Trusted God

Father Jerome Emiliani trusted God when times were difficult. He urged others to trust God, too. He did whatever he could to help those in need. He founded a religious order called Servants of the Poor to help in this work. He died in 1537 while he was helping people who had the plague.

Example for Us

Saint Jerome Emiliani is the patron saint of children without families. The story of his life reminds us to look carefully at our own lives to see if we are living as God wants us to live. We can follow St. Jerome Emiliani’s example by helping those who are in need. We, too, can bring hope to others.

What Can We Do?

* Let’s talk about the life of St. Jerome Emiliani. When did he decide to change his life? What did he do after he escaped from prison? Who did he help? Who are the people we know who need our help?

* Let’s make posters that remind us to live the way St. Jerome Emiliani lived. Let’s print “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5) on sheets of paper and put colorful borders around the edges. We can hang our posters where they will inspire us and others to trust God.

* Let’s show compassion for children, the way St. Jerome Emiliani did. We can collect items to put in backpacks—things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, journals, and pens—and give the backpacks to organizations that support children who are in foster care.


Lord Jesus, thank you for the example of St. Jerome Emiliani. Help us to be aware of the opportunities we have to share your love with others, like he did. Give us the courage to trust in you always. Amen.

Patricia Mathson has many years of experience in faith formation as a DRE. She holds a Master of Religious Education degree from the University of Dallas and currently is the children’s ministry coordinator at a family shelter in Des Moines, IA. Patricia is the author of many books including Prayers and Activities on Service (Twenty-Third Publications).

Copyright 2014, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.

This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, June 2014.

Image Credit: Shutter Stock 544541167

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