Wednesday, November 05, 2014

St. Sylvia: patroness of pregnant women

The saint of the day for November 5 is St. Sylvia (also spelled Silvia), Mother of St. Gregory the Great, pope and Doctor of the Church. Sylvia was known for her great sanctity, and she gave her sons an excellent education.

Sylvia was a native of the region of Sicily while St. Gordian, her husband, came from the vicinity of Rome. They had two sons: Gregory and another whose name is unknown. Gordian died about 573 and Gregory converted his paternal home into a monastery. Sylvia therefore retired to a solitary and quasi-monastic life in a little home near the Church of St. Sava on the Aventine.

It became Sylvia's custom to send fresh vegetables to her son on a silver platter. One day, when Gregory found himself with nothing to give a poor beggar, he presented him with the platter. St. Sylvia is thought to have gone on to her heavenly reward between 592 and 594. After her death, the holy Pontiff had a picture of both his parents depicted in the Church of St. Andrew. In the sixteenth century, Pope Clement VIII had St. Sylvia inscribed in the Roman Martyrology.

St. Sylvia is the patroness of pregnant women and is invoked for a safe delivery.

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