Bishop and Doctor of the Church (340-397)
+ Ambrose, who was born into a noble Roman family, would go on to become one of the greatest theologians of the Church.
+ After completing his studies, he served in the government of the Roman Empire. However, in 374, while living in Milan, he was elected bishop of the city by the popular acclaim of both Catholic and Arian Christians. Because he was only a catechumen, he received the Sacrament of Baptism before being ordained on December 7.
+ Ambrose was loved by his people because of his fidelity as a pastor and his care for the poor. He was a prolific writer, who wrote on a wide range of topics, including the sacraments and Sacred Scripture. Four hymns composed by Saint Ambrose have also come down to us.
+ Saint Ambrose baptized Saint Augustine of Hippo in 387.
+ A staunch defender of the laws of the Church and of true Christian teachings, Saint Ambrose died before dawn on Holy Saturday, April 4, 397.
+ Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1298, he is honored as the patron of beekeepers and candlemakers.
+ The remains of Saint Ambrose are enshrined with those of the martyrs Gervase and Protase, who died for their faith sometime in the second century. Honored as the patron saints of Milan, their relics were enshrined in that city—in a church that Saint Ambrose had built—in the year 386. The feast of these two holy martyrs is celebrated on June 19.
For prayer and reflection
“Ambrose’s preaching—which constitutes the structural nucleus of his immense literary opus—starts with the reading of the Sacred Books (‘the Patriarchs’ or the historical Books and ‘Proverbs’, or in other words, the Wisdom Books) in order to live in conformity with divine Revelation.”—Pope Benedict XVI
On this day, we also remember Saint Mary Joseph Rosello. Although she had tried to enter religious life as a young woman, she was refused admission because she lacked a dowry. She became a Franciscan tertiary and began to teach local girls. In time, she established a new religious community of teaching sisters: the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy. Saint Mary Joseph died on December 7, 1888, and was canonized in 1949.
O God, who made the Bishop Saint Ambrose
a teacher of the Catholic faith
and a model of apostolic courage,
raise up in your Church men after your own heart
to govern her with courage and wisdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.