Also known as
Geronimo; Gerolamo Miani
8 February; formerly 20 July
Born wealthy, the son of Angelo and Eleanor Mauroceni Emiliani. His father died when Jerome was a teenager, and he ran away from home at age 15. After a dissolute youth, he became a soldier in Venice in 1506. Commanded the League of Cambrai forces at the fortress of Castelnuovo in the mountains near Treviso. Captured by Venetian forces on 27 August 1511, he was chained in a dungeon. He prayed to Our Lady for help, was miraculously freed by an apparition, and hung his chains on a church wall as an offering. Mayor of Treviso while studying for the priesthood. Ordained in the spotted-fever plague year of 1518.
Cared for the sick, and housed orphans in his own home. At night he roamed the streets, burying those who had collapsed and died unattended. Contracted the fever himself, but survived. Founded six orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes, and a hospital. Founded the Order of Somaschi (Company of Servants of the Poor, or Somascan Fathers, or Regular Clergy of Somasca) c.1532, a congregation of clerks regular vowed to the care of orphans, and named after the town of Somasca where they started, and where they founded a seminary; the society was given approval by Pope Paul III in 1540, and continue their work today in a dozen countries. Believed to have developed the question-and-answer catechism technique for teaching children religion. Declared the patron of orphans and abandoned children in 1928 by Pope Pius XI.
1481 at Venice, Italy
8 February 1537 in Italy of a disease caught when tending the sick
29 September 1747 by Pope Benedict XIV
16 July 1767
patron saint of abandoned people; patron saint of orphans; patron saint of Taos Indian Pueblo
Prayer to Saint Jerome Emiliani
O Saint 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.