JULY 23, 2017 - "SAINT MARKELLA"
There is a heroic grandeur about the Early Christian Church. The believers in Christ were filled with the Holy Spirit; complete with utter dedication. This is the case with the pious St. Markella, who is featured on today’s bulletin.
She was born of a distinguished family. Many were the suitors who sought her in marriage, recognizing in her not only beauty of body but beauty of spirit. She did marry early in life, but became a widow after seven months of marriage. Again, there were many who sought her hand. Instead she resolved to imitate the lives of the great ascetics of the East. Yes, the fame of the faithful Christians who lived in the desert areas near the Holy Land had spread to Rome and were a profound influence on the young widow Markella in the fourth century.
When the blessed Jerome came to Rome, Markella and her mother and sister placed themselves at the head of a group of Christian women who took Jerome as their spiritual guide and teacher. Markella astonished Jerome by her knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures. For many years she was the model Christian widow of Rome, guiding the pious group and leading them in virtue. Then for thirty years, she led a monastic community.
When the Goths plundered Rome in the year 410, Markella suffered greatly at their hands. She was fearful for her spiritual child, Principia, and pleaded with the soldiers to spare her. Markella did not survive the troubles of the invasion very long and died peacefully in the arms of her pupil.