Wednesday, July 19, 2006

May families be filled with saints!

Today is the memorial of St. Macrina the younger. She's called the younger to distinguish her from her holy paternal grandmother, St. Macrina the elder.

But, they were not the only heroically virtuous ones in their family.

Both of the younger Macrina's parents are saints: St. Basil the Elder and St. Emmelia.

All three of her younger brothers are also saints: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Peter of Sebastea. Some sources also say that St. Gregory Nazianzen was her cousin and foster-brother. Gregory may have been a popular name in the family because the elder Macrina was a disciple of St. Gregory the Wonderworker.

But back to today's member of the family, the younger Macrina. Born in about 327, she had as normal of a childhood as was possible when Mom, Dad, and Grandma are all certifiable Saints, growing up pretty, pious, and learned under the tutulege of her Mom and Grandma, both of whom beside being holy were also scholars. At age twelve, the standard age in those days, she was betrothed to a Christian lawyer, but the young gentleman died before the wedding, and she then refused all other suitors.

About this time, her Dad and then her Mom died, and she, with her Grandma's help, dedicated herself to the upbringing and education of her younger brothers and cousin, seeing them all safely launched into holy and learned adulthoods. Once this duty was done, she entered a cenobium for women (we'd say "monastery" these days, but monasteries hadn't been invented yet.....) that her Mom had founded after Dad died, where she lived a life of intense prayer as its amma until her death in 379. Her kid brother St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote her biography.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

My Godsister's Patron Saint is St. Macrina - and I'm always so humbled by the story of their family - and reminded of what a terrible parent I am in comparison.

Holy Saints, pray to God for us!