St. Paulinus of Nola
St. Paulinus was born around 353 in Bordeaux, France. His father was a governor and a wealthy landowner. Paulinus received a good education. He became a lawyer and poet. He traveled in France, Spain and Italy, wherever work or pleasure took him. In 381, at the age of twenty-eight, he became the governor of Campania, Italy.
When he was thirty-six, Paulinus became a Catholic. He and his wife, Theresia, had one child, a son. After their son died, the couple gave away their wealth and property to the poor. They kept only what they needed to live on. Paulinus and Theresia agreed that they wanted to live simply. The couple prayed, made sacrifices and did without unnecessary things. They also chose to take a vow of chastity to witness to their love for Jesus. Paulinus and his wife were greatly admired by the Christian community. They were very pleased when Paulinus became a priest in 394. Then he and Theresia started a small community of monks in Nola, Italy. They opened a hospice for poor people and travelers, too.
Paulinus and Theresia decided to remain in Nola. Paulinus wanted to be near the shrine of one of his favorite saints, St. Felix of Nola. St. Felix had been a priest and bishop who had died in 260. He had been a defender of his people during the cruel persecution by Emperor Decius. Bishop Felix had been known for his prayerfulness, his love for the people, and his poor lifestyle. Over a century later, Paulinus prayed to him and wrote about him. He felt great confidence in the power of St. Felix. What could this former Roman governor have in common with St. Felix? More than St. Paulinus could have guessed. In 409, he was chosen to be bishop of Nola. The people were so happy. He was a wise, gentle bishop, just as St. Felix had been. He was praised by many great saints who lived at that time, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Martin of Tours and others. Although some of his wonderful writings have been lost, thirty-two poems and fifty-one letters remain.
St. Paulinus was bishop of Nola until his death in 431.
"With all my heart I pray for the hope of heaven, because hope and faith are of much more value than all the riches of this world."-St. Paulinus of Nola