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Blaesilla (died 384) was the daughter of Paula, and sister of Eustochium, from one of the Senatorial families of Ancient Rome. Blaesilla died young, under the influence of Jerome. She, and her sister and mother (and Jerome), are accorded sainthood by the Roman Catholic church.[1]

Blaesilla, as a young girl, showed a strong zest for life. Her mother Paula, however, had joined one of Jerome's women's groups, and begun to adopt his ascetic practices, encouraging Blaesilla and her siblings to do the same. Blaesilla preferred to continue enjoying herself.

In 384, Blaesilla suffered a near-fatal illness, but gradually recovered. Upon recovery she adopted Jerome's asceticism, but her weakened body collapsed under the stress, and four months later she was dead. Much of the Roman populace blamed Jerome for her death. Her mother, Paula, was devastated, but Jerome complained that Paula's grief was excessive, and he insisted that Blaesilla should not be mourned. Jerome's actions were widely seen as heartless, polarising Roman opinion against him,[2] and he was soon expelled from Rome on the official charge of having had "improper relations" with Paula.

See also


  1. ^ Philip Rousseau; Emmanuel Papoutsakis (January 2009). Transformations of Late Antiquity: Essays for Peter Brown. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 139-. ISBN 978-0-7546-6553-3.
  2. ^ Joyce Salisbury, Encyclopedia of women in the ancient world, Blaesilla

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