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Saint of the Day: St. Macrina the Younger

Devoted to the study of Scripture and Sacred Writings


Public Domain

Nun (ca. 330-379)

Her life

+ Macrina was born in Caesarea, Cappadocia (in modern-day Turkey) and was the daughter of Saint Basil “the Elder” and Saint Emmilia; her grandmother was the celebrated Saint Macrina “the Elder.” Her younger brothers were Saints Basil “the Great,” Saint Gregory of Nyssa, and Saint Peter of Sebaste, and acclaimed jurist Nacuratius.

+ Although her father had arranged a marriage for her, Macrina refused to marry, seeing Jesus Christ as her bridegroom; she devoted her self to a life of prayer and service.

+ Macrina had a profound influence on the writings of her brothers, so much so that her brother Gregory later wrote a “life” of his elder sister, presenting her as an ideal of sanctity who dedicated her life to the study of Scripture and other sacred writings.

+ Saint Macrina died on July 19, 379, in her family home, which she had turned into a monastery. Her brother Saint Gregory of Nyssa composed his “Dialogue on the Soul and Resurrection” to commemorate his beloved sister. In this text, even as she was dying, Macrina continued to live a life of sanctity.

+ Honored as a saint immediately after her death—and celebrated in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, as well as in the Anglican and Lutheran Communions—she was held to be a standard of virtue for Christian women.

For prayer and reflection

My whole being was stirred to seek [Wisdom];

therefore I have made her my prize possession.

The Lord has rewarded me with lips,

with a tongue for praising him.

Come aside to me, you untutored,

and take up lodging in the house of instruction.”—Sirach 51:21-23


Merciful God, you called your servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of your grace and truth: May we, following her example, seek after your wisdom and live according to her way; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from Holy Women, Holy Men)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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