St Melania (383- 439)
St Melania whose feast day is December 31st. Melania was born to wealthy Christians, Publicola, a Roman senator, and Albina. At fourteen, she was given in marriage to Valerius Pinianus. When two of her children died soon after childbirth, her husband agreed to lead a life of continency and religious dedication. In 417 all three made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and settled at Jerusalem, where Melania became a friend of St Jerome. After the death of her mother in 431 and her husband in 432, Melania attracted disciples to her solitary way of life and built a convent, for which she was Abbess until her death on December 31st, 439. The life of St Melania reminds us of the fleeting character of earthly wealth. We should strive to emulate her use of wealth as well as talents to further the cause of Our Lord and Saviour Christ.