Saint Paula was a fourth century Roman noblewoman (347-404) who was a devoted wife and mother and subsequent religious ascetic and collaborator of Saint Jerome, her spiritual adviser, in the Bible’s translation from Hebrew and Greek into Latin.
Paula was married to a Roman senator who died suddenly, leaving her a young widow with five children. She was bereft until influenced by Saint Marcella in embracing Christ through severe austerity and commitment to the poor.
Saint Paula and her daughter (Saint Eustochium) settled in Bethlehem with Saint Jerome where they gave him intellectual, financial, and personal support in his scholarly and monastic endeavors. Their monastery, convents, travelers’ hospice, and school are considered the origins of the Hieronymite Order.
Images of Paula, patron saint of widows, include her as a Hieronymite abbess with a book and as a pilgrim with Saints Eustochium and Jerome. Her feast day is January 26.