ST. JEROME EMILIANI was a member of one of the patrician families of Venice, and, like many other Saints, in early life a soldier. He was appointed governor of a fortress among the mountains of Treviso, and whilst bravely defending his post, was made prisoner by the enemy. In the misery of his dungeon he invoked the great Mother of God, and promised, if she would set him free, to lead a new and a better life. Our Lady appeared, broke his fetters, and led him forth through the midst of his enemies. At Treviso he hung up his chains at her altar, dedicated himself to her service, and on reaching his home at Venice devoted himself to a life of active charity. His special love was for the deserted orphan children whom, in the times of the plague and famine, he found wandering in the streets. He took them home, clothed and fed them, and taught them the Christian truths. From Venice he passed to Padua and Verona, and in a few years had founded orphanages through Northern Italy. Some pious clerics and laymen, who had been his fellow-workers, fixed their abode in one of these establishments, and devoted themselves to the cause of education. The Saint drew up for them a rule of life and thus was founded the Congregation, which still exists, of the Clerks Regular of Somascha. St. Jerome died February 8, 1537, of an illness which he had caught in visiting the sick.
REFLECTION FOR THE DAY
God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures.” Genesis 1: 20
When God created the swarms of living creatures in the waters, He did not do it out of His playfulness or for the tourists to watch and enjoy but He had a definite purpose: they are there to enrich and enhance the life of human beings whom He will create later. But the same human beings forgot that it was their duty to keep the waters clean and habitable for the creatures God created and the humans started polluting the waters in the name of industrial development in order to amass wealth. Market and profit became their only goal and in the process they destroyed the livelihood of millions of fishermen who lived on the swarm of creatures in the waters. This is what Pope Francis laments in Laudatowhen he says “the depletion of fishing reserves especially hurts small fishing communities without the means to replace those resources”. When man thwarts God’s purpose the reverse too happens – man’s purpose is also thwarted.