Prayer for the Intercession of
Saint Jerome Emiliani
May 28, 1995
Brother John Raymond
Jerome Emiliani was born in Venice in 1486, the youngest of four
brothers. He was related to a rich family. At the age of ten his
father died. In 1511 Jerome was involved in a war. He was put in
charge of defending Castelnuovo (the new castle). During an attack
by the French and German armies Jerome was forced to surrender. He
was put in prison for a month and then released. After this war
Jerome returned to Castelnuovo.
Around 1525 Jerome came into contact with the Oratory of Divine
Love that had been founded only four years before. It is believed
that through this contact his conversion of life began.
In 1528 a great famine occurred in Italy. Many people went to
Venice hoping to find more food. Jerome gave people food, clothes,
brought people into his home, helped the sick and carried the dead
to a place for proper burial. In a short time he had used up all his
money and the furnishings of his home. A hospital, which Jerome had
earlier helped to start, needed him to take care of orphaned boys
and girls who sought refuge there. Jerome went through the streets
of the city looking for other children in the same plight. He looked
for people to give the children jobs. He opened a shop for this very
purpose. An epidemic broke out and Jerome found himself helping the
sick. He eventually caught the disease but did not die.
In 1531 Jerome decided to completely detach himself from the
world and become one with the poor. He opened another shop and lived
with the orphans. After two months he moved to the Hospital of the
Incurables. When the Bishop of Bergamo needed someone to organize
existing charities and start others he asked Jerome to help. Jerome
gathered the orphaned boys and girls of this city into two separate
places. He cared for the sick and especially poor widows. He
convinced a large number of women to change their lives and gathered
them into a house to get them off the streets. Then he left the city
to reorganize the hospitals in the country. Coming into contact with
country people made Jerome realize their poor understanding of the
Faith. So he started catechetical missions with the help of his own
Jerome decided to organize his helpers into a confraternity of
people who were willing to offer their service. He called them the
"Compagnia." He continued his feverish apostolic works. People from
various cities helped him. In 1534 he decided a center was necessary
for his apostolate. With his co-workers he began the Society of the
Servants of the Poor. By 1536 Jerome had gathered around himself
more than three-hundred people from many walks of life.
A plague broke out in the San Martino Valley. Jerome went there
to help the sick. He contracted the disease and by February was
confined to a loaned bed in a small room. He drew a rough cross on
the room wall with a brick. He died there during the night of
February 7 to 8. He had not yet been buried for eight days when
crowds of people came to see him, some being cured.
The Compagnia that Jerome founded became a religious order known
as the Regular Clergy of Somasca. Jerome Emiliani was canonized by
Pope Clement XIII in 1767. Pope Pius XI proclaimed him Universal
Patron of Orphans and Abandoned Youth in 1928.
If you would like to help the wonderful work of his order with
orphans in this country, you can send donations to: Somascan Fathers
and Brothers, River Rd., P.O. Box 162, Suncook, NH. 03275.
O St. Jerome Emiliani, our country is in such need of your
powerful intercession before the throne of God. So many children are
orphans of broken homes, some are missing and others have been used
for evil purposes on our city streets. Even worse than this, people
are killing children before they are even born.
Inspire parents to adopt orphans. Help us to have your fervor for
all children, especially those in most need. Finally, we ask you to
transform us into children so that we may one day enter the Kingdom
of Heaven and with you praise the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit forever. Amen.