Jerome: Protect the weakest


Since 1928 ninety years have already passed and, given the speed at which we live and move in 2018, those ninety years are very much behind us and is the reason why only a few remember the person and influence of St. Jerome Emilian. Nevertheless, in 1928 the then Pope, Pious XI, proclaimed him the patron of orphans and abandoned children: an official and far-reaching influencer’.
In 1528, four hundred years earlier, (490 counting up to our day) a terrible plague blighted the north of Italy and a large part of central Europe. An immediate consequence of that terrible plague was, one the one hand, the numerous children that became orphans and on the other, the tremendous poverty that fell on those lands for not having people to cultivate them. In the orphaned children and the poor, the two consequences came together.
Jerome Emilian was a young soldier, a knight belonging to a noble Venetian family. A person and personality, we can say, less likely to feel questioned by such situations. But, nevertheless, in this territory grace was activated and he heard the Word of God clearly at a time when he was made a prisoner of war.
Once he was freed, Jerome sold everything he had, following the challenge Jesus made to the rich young man and dedicated himself completely to caring for the orphaned children and the poor and to the abandoned youth. As always happens with great people, his enthusiasm was contagious and drew other young Christians to the foundation, in Somasch, of a Congregation dedicated to them, the Somaschi Fathers, after their place of origin. He was infected and died attending to victims of cholera.
In the present day in many countries the governments have in their care hundreds of unaccompanied migrant children. The number of ‘modern orphans’ is difficult to calculate, the same for abandoned youth. All of these we have to recommend them to their Patron Saint that at a time of scarcity of the dimensions of the spirit that the glimmer of a God, ‘Abba’ and of a redeeming Christ and of the Virgin Mary is not extinguished.
And you, What are you doing to protect the weakest members of our society?

Carlos Díaz Muñiz, CMF

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