Pammachius was a distinguished Christian layman who lived in the fourth century. As a young student, he had become friends with St. Jerome. They remained friends all their lives and kept an ongoing correspondence. His wife was Paulina, the second daughter of St. Paula, another good friend of St. Jerome. When Paulina died in 397, St. Jerome and St. Paulinus of Nola wrote deeply moving letters filled with sympathy, support and the promise of prayers.
Pammachius was heart-broken about his wife's death. He spent the rest of his life serving in the hospice he and St. Fabiola built. There pilgrims coming to Rome were welcomed and made comfortable. Pammachius and Fabiola willingly accepted and even preferred the poor, the sick and the handicapped. Pammachius felt that his deceased wife was with him as he performed his works of mercy. Paulina had been known for her love for the poor and suffering. Her husband now believed that by caring for them, he was paying the best possible tribute to her memory.
St. Pammachius was much more gentle with his words and ways than the fiery St. Jerome. He often suggested to Jerome that he soften or reword his letters, but Jerome usually did not. For example, a man named Jovinian was teaching serious errors. Jerome wrote a harsh essay exposing Jovinian's errors.
Pammachius read the essay and made some good suggestions about rewording the overpowering expressions. St. Jerome thanked his friend for his concern, but did not make the corrections. Pammachius also tried to heal a quarrel between his friend St. Jerome and a man named Rufinus. But it does not seem that he could move Jerome to become more mild in his handling of the person or issues.
St. Pammachius had a church in his house. Today it is the Passionist church of Saints John and Paul. St. Pammachius died in 410 as the Goths were taking over Rome.
St. Pammachius knew how to be a good friend. He was supportive and honest. We can ask him to help us be true to our friends as he was.
How can I be supportive and honest in my relationships with others today?