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St. Olympias – Benefactress of the Poor

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Rebroadcast of the long-running radio program, "The Ave Maria Hour," a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org

St. Olympias was born around the year 368 into a wealthy Constantinople family. She was orphaned as a child and raised by a governess. At age 16 Olympias married a rich nobleman but was widowed a few years later. The Roman Emperor Theodosius arranged a second marriage for Olympias, but she refused to consent to it, choosing instead to dedicate her life to Christian works. She was a devout follower of St. John Chrysostom, who was a profound influence on her life.

As punishment for her refusal to remarry, the Emperor seized Olympias’ family fortune and put it into a trust until her thirtieth birthday. When her fortune was restored to her, Olympias organized a community of women to help the needy. Under her leadership, the women dedicated themselves to generosity to the poor and care for the sick. She established a hospital and an orphanage and was tireless in her charitable works.

St. Olympias died around the year 410. Her feast day is December 17.