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
 orphan children.
	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.