St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia had ten children. They raised their family in Caesarea. Their first child, Macrina, was born around 330. Macrina was engaged when she was twelve. This was a custom of the time. But the young man died suddenly and Macrina told her parents she wished to remain unmarried.
Macrina was the big sister to nine brothers and sisters. Along with her parents and herself, three of her brothers are saints. St. Basil the Great (January 2), St. Peter of Sebaste and St. Gregory of Nyssa were all bishops. Macrina helped raise the children and they loved her. St. Peter of Sebaste remembers her especially with gratitude because she took loving care of him when he was a baby. Peter had been born the year his father died. The children grew up and St. Basil the Great found an estate for his mother and Macrina. It was like a convent and many women in the area came to live a spiritual life there.
After St. Emmelia died, Macrina continued to live the kind of life a nun would lead. She worked hard and gave away everything the family owned except what she really needed. Her brother Basil died in 379. She, too, became ill later that year. Her brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa, came home to visit her. He had been away for eight years. He found Macrina near death. Her frail body rested on two boards. His sister died within hours.
St. Gregory, the local bishop and two priests carried Macrina's coffin to the grave. The funeral procession was long and many people wept. St. Gregory wrote about Macrina and that is how the beauty of her life became known.
How do I want my family to remember me? How can I show my love and support to them?