Galla of Rome
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Major shrine||Chiesa di Santa Galla, Rome|
Galla was the daughter of Roman patrician Symmachus the Younger, who was appointed consul in 485. Galla was also the sister-in-law of Boethius. Her father, Symmachus the Younger, was condemned to death, unjustly, by Theodoric in 525. Galla was then married but was soon widowed, just over a year after marriage. It was believed that she grew a beard, to avoid further offers of marriage. Being wealthy, she decided to retreat to the Vatican Hill, and founded a hospital and a convent near St. Peter's Basilica. Galla is reputed to have once healed a deaf and mute girl, by blessing some water, and giving it to the girl to drink. Galla remained there for the rest of her life, tending to the sick and poor, before dying of breast cancer in 550.
Galla's biography is in the Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great. Galla is also believed to be the inspiration for the letter of Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe, titled "De statu viduarum". The old church dedicated to St. Galla (called "Santa Calla" - meaning "holy warm" - in the roman dialect), located south of the Piazza Montanara (where the building of Anagrafe is currently located) in rione Ripa, was demolished in the 1930s to make way for the Via del Mare. A hospice for old people was adjoined to the church, and as a result, the elderly in Rome got the facetious nickname "Santa Calla". The new church dedicated to St. Galla, located in the Ostiense quarter, was consecrated in 1940. The old church contained a picture of Our Lady, which represents a vision of Our Lady to St. Galla. It is now placed over the high altar of the church of Santa Maria in Campitelli.
Galla is one of the 140 saints whose images adorn St. Peter's Square's colonnade.