St. Nonna

Died 374

Although raised as a Christian, Nonna married Gregory, who belonged to the Hypsistarian sect. Nonetheless, this “mixed marriage” resulted in his conversion. Furthermore, St. Nonna is known for raising one of the most saintly families in Christian history. Nonna, Gregory, and their three children: Gregory, Gorgonia, and Caesarius all became saints. St. Gregory, the eldest child became Bishop of Nazianzus and a Doctor of the Church. The second child, St. Gorgonia married and raised a family of three children. The youngest child, St. Caesarius, became a physician while choosing to live in virtuous poverty.

St. Nonna unfortunately had to endure the death of her two grown up children, Gorgonia and Caesarius. Despite such heartbreak, St. Nonna still cared for others (widows, orphans, and the unfortunate) while still being a model for homemakers. St. Gregory describes his mother as having excelled in both piety and in managing the household. He put it this way:

“While some women excel in the management of their households and others in piety—for it is difficult to achieve both—she nevertheless surpassed all in both, because she was pre-eminent in each and because she alone combined the two. She increased the resources of her household by her care and practical foresight according to the standards and norms laid down by Solomon for the valiant woman. She devoted herself to God and divine things as though she were completely removed from household cares. In no wise, however, did she neglect one duty in fulfilling the other; rather, she performed both more effectively by making one support the other.”

A few months after her husband passed away, Nonna died in church while participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.