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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  January 2015

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION January 2015

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Subject:

FEAST - A Saint for the Day: Paula of Rome

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 26 Jan 2015 10:56:26 -0600

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Paula of Rome (d. 404). We know about this saint from the correspondence of St. Jerome, especially from Letter 108, his eulogy of her. A wealthy Roman matron, she was widowed at the age of thirty-two and was already living ascetically when a few years later she came under the influence of Jerome and of two of his associates who were then in Rome, bishop St. Epiphanius of Salamis and Paulinus, a claimant to the see of Antioch. Encouraged by these to adopt a monastic existence, Paula began to live even more ascetically and was joined in this straightened regimen by two of her daughters, St. Blesilla (then a widow) and St. Eustochium. When Blesilla died about four months later Paula gave her an elaborate upper-class funeral for which Jerome severely rebuked her. In 385 Paula and Eustochium traveled as pilgrims to the Holy Land, with Jerome accompanying them on the final part of their journey. Paula settled in Bethlehem, where she learned Hebrew, established churches, and founded a monastery for women (mostly wealthy Westerners and their female companions) and a smaller one nearby for Jerome, whose work she supported financially. She spent all her money on these endeavors, died poor, and was succeeded by her granddaughter Paula the Younger (whom Jerome had educated). The ninth-century martyrologies of St. Ado of Vienne and Usuard of Saint-Germain entered Paula under 27. January. In the first papally approved edition of the Roman Martyrology Bl. Cesare Baronio moved her to 26. January, the day of her death according to Jerome.

A view of what are said to be the tombs of Paula of Rome and of Eustochium in the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem: 
http://tinyurl.com/agvblv

Jo Ann McNamara's article on Paula and Eustochium, "Cornelia's Daughters Paula and Eustochium", _Women's Studies_ 11 (1984), 9-27, is reproduced here on the free Web:
http://www.umilta.net/cornelia.html 

Some medieval images of Paula of Rome (several of these show her either arriving or having arrived in the Holy Land in a boat with two younger women; these are perhaps her ascetic daughters Eustochium and Blesilla, though Blesilla died in Rome and thus did not make the journey with her):

a) Paula of Rome (at upper right), Eustochium (at upper left), and the dead Blesilla in her sarcophagus (below, center) as depicted with Jerome and, beneath him, the scribe Ivo on the frontispiece of an earlier twelfth-century copy (ca. 1126-1151) of Jerome's _Commentarius in Ecclesiasten_ and various writings by Origen (Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 13350, fol. Bv):
http://tinyurl.com/lj8o23p 

b) Paula of Rome (second from left, with her daughters Eustochium and Blesilla?) arriving in the Holy Land as depicted in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 27v):
http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/ds/huntington/images//000965A.jpg

c) Paula of Rome (at right; at left, her daughters Eustochium and Blesilla?) having arrived in the Holy Land as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century copy (1348) of the _Legenda aurea_, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 53r): 
http://tinyurl.com/nqbtlz6

d) Paula of Rome at the Holy Sepulchre as depicted in a late fourteenth-century copy (1382) of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay followed by the _Festes nouvelles_ attributed to Jean Golein (London, BL, Royal 19 B XVII, fol. 59r):
http://tinyurl.com/qeov8s3

e) Paula of Rome as depicted in an early fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay followed by the _Festes nouvelles_ attributed to Jean Golein (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 242, fol. 45v):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8426005j/f106.image

f) Paula of Rome (at right; at left, her daughters Eustochium and Blesilla?) arriving in the Holy Land as depicted in an early fifteenth-century copy (1419) of the _Elsässische Legenda aurea_ (Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. Pal. germ. 144, fol. 303r):
http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cpg144/0629

g) Paula of Rome (at right) together with a clearly younger Eustochium (at left) flanking Jerome's vision of the Trinity as depicted by Andrea del Castagno in an earlier fifteenth-century fresco (ca. 1444-1445) in the chapel of Girolamo Corboli in Florence's chiesa della Santissima Annunziata:
http://tinyurl.com/lsp2wn3

Best,
John Dillon
(matter from an older post revised)

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