Saint Marcelline with her brother Saint Ambrose
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Church|
Saint Marcellina (c. 327 – 397) was born in Trier, Gaul the daughter of the Praetorian prefect of Gaul, and was the older sister of Saint Ambrose of Milan. She devoted her life to the practice of prayer and asceticism. Her feast day is July 17.
Marcellina was born in Trier, Gaul around the year 330 into a Roman Christian family. Her father served as Praetorian prefect of Gaul. The sister of Ambrose of Milan, she was older than her two brothers. It appears that after the death of their parents, she took responsibility for the upbringing of her younger brothers, Ambrose and Satyrus. While still relatively young, she traveled to the family home in Rome, and devoted herself to the practice of piety and asceticism. On Christmas Day, probably in 353, she received the veil of consecrated virginity from Pope Liberius.
As the eldest sister in her family, she made it a point to pass her younger brothers the "desire not to express their virtue, but to become truly virtuous." This life she led called for continual abstinence, dedication to prayer, strict fasting, etc. The life chosen by Saint Marcellina was one of great sacrifice.
After Ambrose had become Bishop of Milan in 374, he summoned his sister, and found in her a zealous assistant in fostering and extending the ascetic life among the maidens of Milan. Marcellina survived her brother by a year, dying in 398. Honored as a saint, she was buried in the crypt under the altar of the Ambrosian Basilica in Milan.
Ambrose dedicated his work on virginity, written in 377, Libri III de virginibus ad Marcellinam to her.
- Monks of Ramsgate. “Marcellina”. Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 November 2014
- Kirsch, Johann Peter. "St. Marcellina." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 28 November 2015
- Butler, Alban. "St. Marcellina, Virgin", The Lives of the Saints, 1866
- "St. Marcellina, Sister of St. Ambrose", Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
- The Institute St. Marcellina, Sisters of St. Marcellina, London