Saint Jerome Emiliani

Saint Jerome EmilianiAlso known as

  • Geronimo
  • Gerolamo Miani
  • Girolamo
  • Jerom Aemiliani



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, Italy in 1506. Commanded the League of Cambrai forces at the fortress of Castelnuovo in the mountains near Treviso, Italy. 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. Jerome 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.







  • ball and chain
  • man shackled with a ball and chain who is attending the sick
  • man wearing a ball and chain, and receiving an apparition of Mary and the Child Jesus


I urge you to persevere in your love for Christ and your faithful observance of the law of Christ. Our Goal is God, the source of all good. As we say in our prayer, we are to place our trust in God and in no one else. In his kindness, our Lord wished to strengthen your faith, for without it, as the evangelist points out, Christ could not have performed many of his miracles. He also wished to listen to your prayer, and so he ordained that you experience poverty, distress, abandonment, weariness and scorn. God alone knows the reasons for all this, yet we can recognize three causes. In the first place, our blessed Lord is tell young that he desires to include you among his beloved sons, provided that you remain steadfast in his ways, for this is the way he treats his friends and makes them holy. The second reason is that he is asking you to grow continuously in your confidence in him alone and not in others. Now there is a third reason. God wishes to test you like gold in the furnace. The dross is consumed by the fire, but the pure gold remains and its value increases. It is in this manner than God acts with his good servant, who puts his hope in him and remains unshaken in times of distress. God raises him up and, in return for the things he has left out of love for God, he repays him a hundredfold in this life and with eternal life hereafter. If then you remain constant in faith in the face of trial, the Lord will give you peace and rest for a time in this world, and for ever in the next. – from a letter to his brothers by Saint Jerome Emiliani

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Jerome Emiliani“. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 December 2021. Web. 4 December 2021. <>