St. Fabiola

Died 399

Fabiola was a Roman woman who had an unfaithful husband. She acquired a divorce under Roman law. Although her husband had numerous vices, she refused to expose it publicly. St. Jerome knew her personally and was her teacher and spiritual adviser. St. Jerome says of her that “Fabiola…put away a vicious husband; she put away a man who was guilty of this and that crime…”

Clearly against Church teaching, Fabiola remarried while her husband was still alive. When the second husband died, she realized her sin and repented. She made public penance, donated money to churches and Italian communities, and helped found the first Christian public hospital in the West. She ministered to the sick, the poor, and the homeless. She traveled and lived in Bethlehem in a hospice directed by St. Paula. She later moved back to Rome and helped a former senator, Pammachius, construct a large hospice. She continued her work until she died in 399. She received much praise from St. Jerome about her saintly virtues.